as·​sas·​si·​nate | \ ə-ˈsa-sə-ˌnāt How to pronounce assassinate (audio) \
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

assassinator \ ə-​ˈsa-​sə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce assassinator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for assassinate


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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 The division is alleged to have been behind two 2015 attempts to assassinate Emilian Gebrev, a Bulgarian arms manufacturer, through poisoning. Fox News, "Behind the top-secret Russian military intelligence unit accused of paying insurgents to kill Americans in Afghanistan," 3 July 2020 The allegations and mischaracterizations throughout – whether of pay inequity, intimidation, and otherwise – are unfounded attempts to discredit our brand and assassinate personal character. Essence Staff, Essence, "Read ESSENCE's Official Statement on Criticism From 'Black Female Anonymous'," 29 June 2020 When Pete tries to assassinate Coventry, the Grand Magus flicks his hand and turns Pete into an exploding, bloody mess. Ariana Romero,, "These Are The 5 Twists You Need To Remember Before The Order Season 2," 18 June 2020 In 2012, North Korean agents attempted to assassinate him with a poisonous needle shaped like a pen. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea isn't talking to the South anymore. Experts say it could be trying to manufacture a crisis," 9 June 2020 The LMDs in that story are very literally decoys, sent out to distract Hydra agents who planned to assassinate Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s choice for a new director. cleveland, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are back: Captain Comics," 5 June 2020 Operation Long Jump, written by Yuri Kuznets, was a detailed account of the Nazi plot to assassinate the Big Three, and how the Soviets foiled the plot. Howard Blum, Time, "The Search for the Truth About the Nazi Plot to Assassinate FDR," 2 June 2020 Free Joseon also rescued the family of Kim’s exiled half brother after he was assassinated in 2017. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "North Korea’s top diplomat in Italy defected with the help of California-based anti-regime activists," 3 Apr. 2020 Per the official synopsis: After he and his wife are suddenly assassinated, Marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is brought back to life by a team of scientists. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Bloodshot is the solid escapist fare we could use right now," 19 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for assassinate

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The first known use of assassinate was in 1600

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Statistics for assassinate

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assassinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for assassinate


How to pronounce assassinate (audio)

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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