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

In the original production the doctor that enlisted the assassins was an onstage character with actual scenes, but now his role is part of the back story that comes out in conversation. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Archduke’ at TheatreWorks hilariously shows how violent radicals are born," 10 June 2019 Villanelle, the chameleonic Russian assassin at the center of the addictive BBC series Killing Eve, is arguably that kind of role for the large-eyed 26-year-old Liverpudlian Jodie Comer. Danielle Stein Chizzik, Town & Country, "Jodie Comer Is Hollywood’s Next Great Chameleon," 8 Apr. 2019 The audience, in other words, is growing exponentially for this series about a talented assassin who never seems to get a break. Lindsey Bahr, The Seattle Times, "‘John Wick 3’ dethrones ‘Avengers: Endgame’ with $57 million," 21 May 2019 Ultimately, Arya's years of training taught her how to destroy him for good—how to become an assassin so stealthy, her own blood hitting the floor makes more noise than her movements. Carrie Wittmer, Harper's BAZAAR, "Arya Stark Is the Only Character Who Could've Killed the Night King on Game of Thrones," 1 May 2019 Obviously, Arya goes on to become an assassin, but think about it for a second. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "All the Game of Thrones Callbacks You Missed During the Battle of Winterfell," 29 Apr. 2019 That's why China is investing heavily in weapons tech like the assassin’s mace, which is based on conventional weaponry. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "What You Need to Know About the South China Sea, the World's Next Hot Spot," 27 Feb. 2019 By the end of the episode, things were finally looking up for the living, as Arya Stark put her super assassin skills to use and took out the Night King (and, with him, the rest of the White Walkers and the wights, too). Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Why Did Melisandre Die in 'Game of Thrones' After the Battle of Winterfell?," 29 Apr. 2019 In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Arya finally put her faceless assassin skills to the test and killed the Night King during the Battle of Winterfell in one of the series’ biggest twists ever. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Maisie Williams Thought People Would Underestimate Arya Stark and Her Destiny in "Game of Thrones"," 29 Apr. 2019

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

18 Jun 2019

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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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