assassinate

verb as·sas·si·nate \ ə-ˈsa-sə-ˌnāt \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of assassinate

assassinated; assassinating
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

assassination

play \ə-ˌsa-sə-ˈnā-shən\ noun

assassinator

play \-ˈsa-sə-ˌnā-tər\ noun

Examples of assassinate in a Sentence

  1. They discovered a secret plot to assassinate the governor.

  2. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Recent Examples of assassinate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of assassinate

Synonym Discussion of 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

ASSASSINATE Defined for English Language Learners

assassinate

verb

Definition of assassinate for English Language Learners

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


ASSASSINATE Defined for Kids

assassinate

verb as·sas·si·nate \ ə-ˈsa-sə-ˌnāt \

Definition of assassinate for Students

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


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