as·​sas·​si·​nate | \ə-ˈsa-sə-ˌnāt \
assassinated; assassinating

Definition of assassinate 

transitive verb

1 : to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons a plot to assassinate the governor

2 : to injure or destroy unexpectedly and treacherously assassinate a man's character

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Other Words from assassinate

assassination \ə-​ˌsa-​sə-​ˈnā-​shən \ noun
assassinator \-​ˈsa-​sə-​ˌnā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms for assassinate


bump off, croak [slang], dispatch, do in, execute, get, ice [slang], knock off, liquidate, murder, neutralize, off [slang], put away, rub out, slay, snuff, take out, terminate, whack [slang]

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Choose the Right Synonym for assassinate

kill, slay, murder, assassinate, dispatch, execute mean to deprive of life. kill merely states the fact of death caused by an agency in any manner. killed in an accident frost killed the plants slay is a chiefly literary term implying deliberateness and violence but not necessarily motive. slew thousands of the Philistines murder specifically implies stealth and motive and premeditation and therefore full moral responsibility. convicted of murdering a rival assassinate applies to deliberate killing openly or secretly often for political motives. terrorists assassinated the Senator dispatch stresses quickness and directness in putting to death. dispatched the sentry with one bullet execute stresses putting to death as a legal penalty. executed by lethal gas

Examples of assassinate in a Sentence

They discovered a secret plot to assassinate the governor. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Recent Examples on the Web

Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe has repeatedly denied. Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Seattle Times, "Sri Lanka lawmakers linked to disputed PM boycott Parliament," 27 Nov. 2018 But a small cohort of followers love Rodríguez for his hard line on drug cartels—for which he has nearly been assassinated twice. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Your Complete Guide to Mexico's 2018 Elections," 29 June 2018 Doe’s government had become increasingly unpopular among Liberians and he was eventually assassinated by an offshoot of Taylor’s forces less than a year into the war. Jeremy Roebuck,, "Accused Liberian's trial in Philly highlights complicated U.S. legacy in war-torn African nation," 15 June 2018 It was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. before he was assassinated. Taryn Luna, sacbee, "Why people keep getting arrested at the state Capitol," 12 June 2018 Malcolm X founded the Organization for Afro-American Unity in 1964, just months before he was assassinated in Harlem in February 1965. Smithsonian, "The History of Black Catholics in America," 8 June 2018 Before he was assassinated 50 years ago, RFK had set out to end division in the U.S. Steve Brodner, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why Bobby Kennedy’s Run for President Is Still an Inspiration," 4 June 2018 During a long and tense campaign Mr Bio had accused the All People’s Congress (APC), the party of his opponent, Samura Kamara, of trying to assassinate him. The Economist, "Sierra Leone’s new president has made big promises," 12 Apr. 2018 He was assassinated in 1947, when his daughter was two. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Horror in Burma," 13 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assassinate.' 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 assassinate

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assassinate

see assassin

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for assassinate

The first known use of assassinate was in 1600

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English Language Learners Definition of assassinate

: to kill (someone, such as a famous or important person) usually for political reasons


as·​sas·​si·​nate | \ə-ˈsa-sə-ˌnāt\
assassinated; assassinating

Kids Definition of assassinate

: to murder a usually important person by a surprise or secret attack

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a nest or breeding place

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