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 Headey fares better as the assassin mother Sam yearned to follow. Angelica Jade Bastién, Vulture, 16 July 2021 This figure is an assassin that operates on behalf of the Red Room, the Soviets' top-secret program that takes young women and turns those who survive the training into Black Widow assassins. Nick Romano,, 10 July 2021 The Lin Kuei attacked [his] family, killed the parents, abducted him and his brother, indoctrinated him to be an assassin — that’s sad. Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2021 My interpretation of the video is that the boy is an assassin who was hired to kill the singer, Mandarine. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 22 Apr. 2021 The character Shang-Chi, played by Canadian actor Simu Liu, is seen in the trailer living in present-day San Francisco as a crusader who was trained from childhood to be an assassin in the Ten Rings organization. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, 19 Apr. 2021 Colt, the game’s star, is an assassin stuck in a time loop, waking up on an island army base the morning of an upcoming big party. Michael J. Seidlinger, Wired, 10 Mar. 2021 Bucky, on the other hand, is trying to process the trauma that comes with being a former brainwashed assassin who spent decades fighting for an evil organization. Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2021 In her breakthrough role, Portman plays Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl reluctantly taken in by a professional assassin after her family is murdered. Ben Flanagan |, al, 9 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for assassin

Time Traveler

The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assassin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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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

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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