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 One future assassin, who detested Brown’s politics, couldn’t resist admiring a fellow maniac. Adam Rowe, WSJ, "‘The Zealot and the Emancipator’ Review: A Deadly Confrontation," 4 Oct. 2020 But what if the assassin loses her nerve and can’t do it? Tribune News Service, cleveland, "‘Possessor’ review: Pardon me while I borrow your cranium," 2 Oct. 2020 But what if the assassin loses her nerve and can’t do it? Michael Phillips,, "'Possessor’ review: Pardon me while I borrow your cranium," 1 Oct. 2020 Among Eberhard’s undergraduate students was Soley Guardia, who went on to study how assassin bugs use clever strategies to catch web-weaving spiders for his Ph.D. in Australia. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Costa Rica is producing a new corps of skilled tropical biologists. But many can’t find jobs at home," 24 Sep. 2020 In addition to stage presence, Mia was gaining a reputation as an assassin on the mic. James Cullen,, "In the kitchen or on the mic, trifle with Mia X at your own risk," 24 Aug. 2020 Two earthlings help fight an assassin sent to kill refugees from Idhun. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Netflix in September: Tom Holland film, 'Jurassic' show, 'Ratched'," 19 Aug. 2020 Hayer, the least experienced assassin, held onto his pistol, giving away his role in the plot. Les Payne, The New Yorker, "The Day Malcolm X Was Killed," 27 Aug. 2020 Lancelot is a Judean assassin who studied Kung-Fu under martial-arts master Joseph of Arimathea. Vivian Shaw, Washington Post, "‘By Force Alone’ is an exciting and wickedly funny reimagining of the King Arthur legend," 21 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for assassin

Time Traveler

The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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Statistics for assassin

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Assassin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for assassin


How to pronounce assassin (audio)

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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