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

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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

From sword skills to poison making, the kids of Deadly Class are being trained as the world's next leading assassins lead by their no nonsense headmaster, Master Lin. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About Lana Condor's New Show "Deadly Class"," 4 Jan. 2019 Ryan Reynolds welcomed several young would-be assassins onto the Deadpool set for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Children’s Wish Foundation. Alexia Fernandez,, "Ryan Reynolds Meets Some Real Life Heroes as Young Fans from Make-A-Wish Visit the Deadpool Set," 20 Feb. 2018 The critically acclaimed drama centers around M16 operative Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Where to Watch and Stream 'Killing Eve' (Because You Can't on Netflix)," 4 Jan. 2019 In 2006, assassins affiliated with the Russian government fatally poisoned the Russian dissident and former spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was living in London. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 The first season of one of this spring’s best dramas comes to a close in an episode that promises another confrontation between Eve (Sandra Oh) and the assassin known as Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Ellen Gray,, "TV picks: 'Fourth Estate,' 'The Americans,' 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,' 'Reverie' and more," 25 May 2018 The show, which stars Sandra Oh (Eve) and Jodie Comer (Villanelle), follows a glamorous assassin and the MI5 agent after her/maybe in love with her. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Now 'Killing Eve' Fans Have Two Ways to Watch Season Two," 31 Jan. 2019 Only cult fans will remember this one: In the sequel to Machete, which starred Lindsay Lohan as a gun-slinging nun—seriously, Google it—Gaga played a shape-shifting assassin called Lady Chameleon. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "7 Times Lady Gaga Proved She Could Act Before A Star Is Born," 23 Jan. 2019 In this case, Bean will be playing a fellow assassin with a penchant for faking his own death. Nick Statt, The Verge, "How Hitman 2’s developers turned its gigantic levels into ever-evolving playgrounds," 18 Oct. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for assassin

Last Updated

9 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for assassin

The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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More Definitions for assassin



English Language Learners Definition of assassin

: a person who kills someone (such as a famous or important person) usually for political reasons or for money : a person who assassinates someone


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

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Comments on assassin

What made you want to look up assassin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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