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

The list for the day her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated has just been made public. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Jackie Kennedy’s Never-Before-Seen Packing List Reveals Heartbreaking Details of Her Final Trip with JFK," 9 July 2018 The campaign season has been marked by brutal violence, with some 130 candidates and campaign staff assassinated across the country. Joshua Partlow, Anchorage Daily News, "Andrés Manuel López Obrador wins Mexican presidential race," 2 July 2018 There was a massive amount of violence during the election, with roughly 130 candidates and campaign staffers assassinated. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador Wins Mexican Presidential Election," 2 July 2018 The first game presented its alternate universe—where JFK was never assassinated and corporations are somehow even more all-powerful—through the eyes of the corporate elite. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Prey: Mooncrash’s dystopic nightmare hits a little too close to home," 28 June 2018 One sequence shows footage of Gandhi being sworn in after his mother, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated in 1984. Nyay Bhushan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Netflix Series Faces Legal Case Over Portrayal of Ex-India Prime Minister," 13 July 2018 The brother was assassinated in Malaysia last year, a killing widely believed to be ordered by Kim Jong Un. Chun Han Wong And Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Kim Jong Un, Sightseeing Dictator, Takes Selfies in Singapore," 11 June 2018 Babchenko was widely reported to have been assassinated in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday, before surprising virtually everyone by turning up alive at a news conference less than 24 hours later. NBC News, "Russia uses Arkady Babchenko case to cast doubt on Skripal poisonings," 31 May 2018 Charles attended the funerals in Jerusalem of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and former prime minister and president Shimon Peres in 2016. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Prince William's trip to Israel, West Bank is history in the making: All the details," 24 May 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

7 Nov 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 private place of worship

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