kill·​ing | \ ˈki-liŋ How to pronounce killing (audio) \

Definition of killing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of one that kills
3 : a sudden notable gain or profit made a killing in the stock market



Definition of killing (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : that kills or relates to killing
2 : highly amusing
3 : extremely difficult to deal with the suspense is killing also : calling for great strength, stamina, or endurance a killing schedule

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Other Words from killing


killingly \ ˈki-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce killing (audio) \ adverb

Examples of killing in a Sentence

Noun The oil spill is responsible for the killing of thousands of birds. Adjective he's usually quiet, but occasionally unleashes some killing remark that cracks everyone up a killing schedule that requires the touring company to play in a different city every night
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Enraged by the killing of his wife, Scotsman William Wallace leads a revolt against the tyrannical English king in the 13th century. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: James Dean in ‘Giant’ on TCM and more," 2 Apr. 2021 Amid last summer’s protests over racial inequity, triggered by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, one of the localities that used the new law to take down a statue was Albemarle County. Washington Post, "Virginia Supreme Court clears the way for Charlottesville to take down statue of Robert E. Lee," 1 Apr. 2021 During the initial protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by police last May, the board of Dallas Derby Devils reached out to every member of the league asking for their input on inclusivity. Jonny Auping, Dallas News, "Dallas roller derby league struggles to stay afloat, even as skating goes viral," 30 Mar. 2021 The failure of these reforms is demonstrated most spectacularly by the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, one of the MPD's training officers. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Michael Osterholm, downtown safety, watching Minnesota teams," 27 Mar. 2021 The racial justice movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd brought civil rights groups more deeply into discussions of how hate speech travels online. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "This Group Wants to ‘Ban Surveillance Advertising’," 22 Mar. 2021 The nationwide protest movement spurred by the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota has brought a flood of donations to all bail funds, including Massachusetts’, empowering them to pay much higher bails than ever before. Globe Staff,, "Massachusetts Bail Fund pays $100,000 to free woman charged with throwing her newborn in the trash," 17 Mar. 2021 The racial justice movement sparked last year by the police killing of George Floyd exposed the dearth of Black professionals in numerous industries. Fortune, "Black workers find little opportunity in growing video game industry," 16 Mar. 2021 Sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last year, much of the discussion has been about curbing alleged physical abuse. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘Haunted’ by the Crowe murder case, defense attorney proposes Children’s Bill of Rights," 6 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And Morgan put an end to his non-killing ways by chopping off the head of his bounty-hunting pursuer — stealing his axe and hat in the process. Dalton Ross,, "Fear the Walking Dead showrunners answer season premiere burning questions," 12 Oct. 2020 The killing spree began in the cottage community of Portapique where Mr. Wortman owned several properties. New York Times, "‘Canada Is in Mourning,’ Trudeau Says After Nova Scotia Mass Shooting," 20 Apr. 2020 The problem at hand is the novel coronavirus, and U.S. sanctions are aiding its killing spree in Iran. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "Iran needs sanction relief to get through this pandemic," 18 Mar. 2020 In 2014, his daughter, Alex, was at the University of California, Santa Barbara when a gunman on a killing spree fatally shot three women outside her sorority house. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Democratic race for Park Cities, Old East Dallas seat in the Texas House heats up over guns, GOP ties," 21 Feb. 2020 Keenan was the New York Police Department’s Chief of Detectives during the killing spree, which terrified the city in 1976 and 1977 as an unknown gunman stalked his victims with a .44 caliber handgun, killing six and wounding seven others. Michael R. Sisak, San Diego Union-Tribune, "NYPD commander who took “Son of Sam” confession dead at 99," 20 Sep. 2019 Police reports, witness statements and dispatch logs shared earlier have provided more detail about the confusion and heroism as the concert venue became a killing field. Ken Ritter, Fox News, "Police release more video from officers at Vegas shooting," 13 June 2018 The disturbing confessions of a Louisiana man accused in three 2017 murders reveal a suspect who viewed a killing spree as similar to a deer hunt and who looked at victims as animals he was licensed to kill, police reports show. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Louisiana man accused in three murders says he was filling hunting 'tags' for state police, FBI, officials say," 22 Aug. 2018 The release last week of about 2,100 pages of police reports, witness statements and dispatch logs provided more detail about the chaos, confusion and heroism as the concert venue became a killing field. Washington Post, "Video shows police response, fleeing crowd at Vegas attack," 30 May 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for killing

Time Traveler

The first known use of killing was in the 15th century

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Statistics for killing

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Killing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for killing



English Language Learners Definition of killing

: an act of killing someone or something
informal : a large amount of money

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Comments on killing

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