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 killingly (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 The effort came in the aftermath of the October 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and was condemned by lawmakers skeptical of the relationship between the U.S. and the Saudi Kingdom. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Fired State Department watchdog was probing Saudi arms sale, top House Democrat says," 18 May 2020 The story hit the national spotlight this month after footage of the killing was released. Melissa Alonso And Jennifer Tzeses, CNN, "Person who left note at Ahmaud Arbery's memorial just wanted share condolences, investigators say," 14 May 2020 Bashar, who was 21 at the time of the killing, was convicted of assaulting and murdering Susanna Feldman in Wiesbaden in May 2018. Washington Post, "German court rejects Iraqi’s appeal over killing of teen," 12 May 2020 Earlier in the week, a video of the killing — taken by Travis' neighbor, William Bryan — had spread on social media, renewing a storm of public outcry. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "'I hope justice is done': Rand Paul voices support for family of Ahmaud Arbery," 10 May 2020 The handling of the case by the two prosecutors suggests a coverup of a killing by a former police officer that has obvious racial implications. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "We Are Living in the Age of the Black-Panic Defense," 9 May 2020 The move follows a surge of rhino killings in March that left at least six animals dead, writes Nat Geo’s Dina Fine Maron. Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic, "Americans do not fully understand the aggressiveness and toxicity of this hornet.," 7 May 2020 Authorities said most of the killings are ordered from prisons. Fox News, "El Salvador authorizes 'lethal force' against gangs amid coronavirus crime spike, mixes rival gangs in jails," 28 Apr. 2020 Where the brutal nature of the killing is concerned, that’s a slightly different thing for me. Christian Holub,, "Alex Garland talks quantum physics, mortality, and Devs," 16 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 The cast sculpture comprises two main pieces, interlocking where the mouth of the lion meets the neck of the dog — the killing moment frozen in time. New York Times, "Charles Ray, Walking a Fine Line With a Hungry Lion," 13 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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Killing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for killing


How to pronounce killing (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of killing

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

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