ho·​mi·​cide | \ˈhä-mə-ˌsīd, ˈhō- \

Definition of homicide 

1 : a person who kills another

2 : a killing of one human being by another detectives investigating a homicide

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Synonyms for homicide


blood, foul play, murder, rubout, slaying

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Examples of homicide in a Sentence

The number of homicides increased last year. He has been arrested for homicide.

Recent Examples on the Web

Last year, nearly 64,000 people were killed in Brazil, a record for the country that has long been the world leader in annual homicides. Mauricio Savarese, The Seattle Times, "Brazil judge denies cabinet post a reward for jailing Lula," 6 Nov. 2018 In a country with the world’s most homicides, the ex-military man has made law and order his main theme. Paulo Trevisani, WSJ, "Ex-Army Captain Upends Brazil’s Election With Law-And-Order Campaign," 21 Aug. 2018 Almost half of the officers are being sent to the Northeastern District, where shootings are up since last year, and the Central District, which has seen an increase in homicides. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Police assign 115 extra officers to patrol the streets in hopes of curbing overtime spending, crime," 11 July 2018 But the Harrison District, which includes the East Garfield Park neighborhood where Curtis Britt Jr. was fatally shot on June 8, leads the city in homicides at 36, two more than at the halfway point of 2017. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, "With high-tech help, there's been less bloodshed in Chicago this year, but results are mixed on the West Side," 4 July 2018 Phoenix police are asking for the public's help in finding a man suspected in a double homicide that occurred last month. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Police identify suspect in Phoenix double homicide," 3 July 2018 Before he was fired, Nordo — who spent two decades on the force, nearly half of that time in homicide — was known as a prolific investigator often assigned to challenging investigations. Chris Palmer, Philly.com, "Murder case dropped over fired Philly detective's 'outrageous' misconduct," 3 July 2018 He’s charged with first-degree murder in the February 2016 homicide of 22-year-old Marquis Waithe in Roxbury. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "In court, man confronts gang members convicted of killing his brother," 29 June 2018 LaMark Muir was the only woman in homicide when she was promoted in 2011, working alongside 10 men. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Hartford Settles Lawsuit Alleging Culture Of Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Within Police Department," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'homicide.' 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 homicide

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for homicide

in sense 1, from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin homicida, from homo human being + -cida -cide; in sense 2, from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin homicidium, from homo + -cidium -cide

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Statistics for homicide

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for homicide

The first known use of homicide was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for homicide



English Language Learners Definition of homicide

: the act of killing another person


ho·​mi·​cide | \ˈhä-mə-ˌsīd, ˈhō-mə-\

Kids Definition of homicide

: a killing of one human being by another


ho·​mi·​cide | \ˈhäm-ə-ˌsīd, ˈhō-mə- \

Medical Definition of homicide 

1 : a person who kills another

2 : a killing of one human being by another — compare genocide

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ho·​mi·​cide | \ˈhä-mə-ˌsīd, ˈhō- \

Legal Definition of homicide 

1 : a person who kills another

2 : the killing of one human being by another — compare manslaughter, murder

criminal homicide

: homicide committed by a person with a criminal state of mind (as intentionally, with premeditation, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence)

deliberate homicide

: homicide caused purposely and knowingly used in Montana

excusable homicide

: homicide that is committed by accident or misfortune by a person doing a lawful act by lawful means with usual and ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent and that is excused under the law also : justifiable homicide in this entry

felonious homicide

: homicide committed without justification

homicide by misadventure

: homicide that occurs as the result of an accident caused by a person doing a lawful act with no unlawful intent

justifiable homicide

: homicide that is committed in self-defense, in defense of another and especially a member of one's family or sometimes in defense of a residence, in preventing a felony especially involving great bodily harm, or in performing a legal duty and that is justified under the law also : excusable homicide in this entry

negligent homicide

: homicide caused by a person's criminally negligent act

reckless homicide

: homicide caused by a person's reckless acts

Note: In Illinois, involuntary manslaughter committed by use of a motor vehicle is called reckless homicide.

vehicular homicide \vē-​ˈhi-​kyə-​lər-​ \

: homicide committed by the use of a vehicle (as an automobile or boat)

History and Etymology for homicide

Latin homicidium, from homo human being + caedere to cut, kill

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Comments on homicide

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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