as·​sas·​sin | \ ə-ˈsa-sᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio) \

Definition of assassin

1 capitalized : a member of a Shia Muslim sect who at the time of the Crusades was sent out on a suicidal mission to murder prominent enemies
2 : a person who commits murder especially : one who murders a politically important person either for money or from fanatical adherence to a cause

Examples of assassin in a Sentence

John Wilkes Booth was the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. shot down by an unknown assassin
Recent Examples on the Web Starz's The White Princess stars Jodie Comer (best known for playing Killing Eve's enigmatic assassin) as Elizabeth of York. Tamara Fuentes, Town & Country, 16 Sep. 2022 When his pet is killed in an arson attack, his rage transforms him into El Colibri, an assassin bent on fighting against corruption and social injustice. John Hopewell, Variety, 9 Sep. 2022 The circumstances of what happened next are subject to much debate, but historians generally agree that the crisis began on August 22, when an assassin wounded but failed to kill Coligny. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Sep. 2022 Brad Pitt plays an assassin called Ladybug, who is tasked with the job of taking a briefcase and riding a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 12 Aug. 2022 In Bullet Train, Pitt plays an assassin traveling across Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto. Benjamin Vanhoose,, 27 July 2022 David Leitch's assassin-crowded film, made for $90 million, has grossed $54.4 million in two weeks. Jake Coyle, USA TODAY, 15 Aug. 2022 The cheery, unarmed person at the front gate couldn’t stop a heckler, let alone an assassin. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2022 David Leitch's assassin-crowded film, made for $90 million, has grossed $54.4 million in two weeks for Sony Pictures. Jake Coyle, ajc, 14 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assassin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of assassin

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assassin

Medieval Latin assassinus, from Arabic ḥashshāshīn, plural of ḥashshāsh worthless person, literally, hashish user, from hashīsh hashish

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Time Traveler for assassin

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The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Assassin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for assassin


as·​sas·​sin | \ ə-ˈsa-ˌsᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio) \

Kids Definition of assassin

: someone who kills another person usually for pay or from loyalty to a cause

More from Merriam-Webster on assassin

Nglish: Translation of assassin for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assassin for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about assassin


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