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 A few hours after the killing, Frank Flores and Carlos Camacho, detectives with the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division, headed to the crime scene on Hercules Drive. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, "A rising rapper, an ill-fated Instagram post and a killing in the Hollywood Hills," 13 May 2021 Over the past year or so, we have been reminded of this fact, and of the simple magic of hand washing, with its unequaled germ-killing (and lifesaving) powers. New York Times, "Love Artisanal Soaps? Make Your Own," 13 May 2021 Then came the revelations of the 2018 killing in Istanbul of dissident Jamal Kashoggi, dismembered in the Saudi consulate by MbS henchmen with a bone saw. Christopher Helman, Forbes, "Bold Prince Holds Tight Grip On Cash Machine Saudi Aramco, The World’s Most Profitable Company," 13 May 2021 The killing of Julius Hayes, who was shot six times, occurred nine months after another Superior Court judge, Robert D. Okum, granted Moore’s request for early release. Washington Post, "Released early after a murder conviction, D.C. man is charged in new homicide," 12 May 2021 The attack was the latest mass killing — defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter — to plague the U.S. this year. Thomas Peipert, Star Tribune, "Colorado police seek motive in party shooting that killed 7," 10 May 2021 The revelation sheds new light on the role that Israel played in the killing of Soleimani, who the State Department says was responsible for hundreds of U.S. troop deaths as the head of the Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force. Paul Best, Fox News, "Israel shared Iranian General Soleimani's cell phones with US intelligence before drone strike: report," 9 May 2021 Floyd's killing in May 2020, captured on cellphone video that later went viral, sparked protests nationwide. Joshua Hoyos And Meredith Deliso, ABC News, "Derek Chauvin's legal team requests new trial, alleging jury misconduct," 5 May 2021 Over the last year, activists in Louisville have protested and demanded justice for the police killing of Breonna Taylor, including at last September's Kentucky Derby. Artemis Moshtaghian And Chris Boyette, CNN, "4 arrested at a Black Lives Matter march in Louisville following the Kentucky Derby," 2 May 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

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Killing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 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

Comments on killing

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