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

Except for one character — Marina, the widow of suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, who, like him, appears as two characters, one young, the other as an older woman. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "In searching for the next ‘Hamilton,’ the makers of the musical ‘Oswald’ traverse the JFK minefield," 23 Aug. 2019 Swords, axes, darts, clubs, feet and fists fly as Xin beats assorted robbers, assassins, soldiers and turncoat generals. Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Kingdom’s’ sword-wielding manga heroes go to war in a thrilling flurry of action," 15 Aug. 2019 Controversial in cost, armament, and purpose, the Zumwalts are now being repurposed by the U.S. Navy into assassins of the sea, killing enemy ships while staying hidden. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About the USS Zumwalt Destroyers," 5 Aug. 2019 Directed by Ang Lee, the film follows an assassin (Smith) who is being tracked by a copy of himself. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "Jennifer Lawrence to Play Real-Life Mobster," 25 July 2019 The actor, 50, stars in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Gemini Man playing Henry, an elite assassin, being pursued by his 23-year-old clone named Junior, also played by Smith. Mia Mcniece,, "Will Smith Explains What It's Like to Act Opposite a Younger Version of Himself in Gemini Man," 24 July 2019 After Johnson’s decision not to seek reelection and Robert F. Kennedy’s death at an assassin’s bullet, Humphrey secured the nomination, but little support from Johnson, who had promised to stay neutral as part of his decision to leave the ring. Lily Rothman, Time, "President Trump Said He Would Take Foreign Campaign Help. Here's What Past Candidates Did in That Situation," 14 June 2019 There is the undeniable draw of international assassins, psychopaths, and intelligence agencies—but frankly television in that vein can often end up feeling derivative, or predictable. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Killing Eve's Fiona Shaw Knows Which Side Carolyn Martens Is On. She Knows a Lot, Actually.," 5 May 2019 Unbowed and unbroken, the widow had his assassins and their families massacred in retaliation. National Geographic, "This Renaissance warrior woman defied powerful popes to defend her lands," 15 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for assassin

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for assassin

The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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More Definitions for assassin



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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Comments on assassin

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