martyr

noun
mar·tyr | \ˈmär-tər \

Definition of martyr 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion

2 : a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle a martyr to the cause of freedom

3 : victim especially : a great or constant sufferer a martyr to asthma all his life — A. J. Cronin

martyr

verb
martyred; martyring; martyrs

Definition of martyr (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put to death for adhering to a belief, faith, or profession

2 : to inflict agonizing pain on : torture

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Other Words from martyr

Noun

martyrization \ˌmär-tə-rə-ˈzā-shən \ noun
martyrize \ˈmär-tə-ˌrīz \ transitive verb

Examples of martyr in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ultimately, season 2 of 13 Reasons Why allowed Hannah to become less of a martyr (a frequent complaint from critics of 13 Reasons Why) and more of a human being, with the flaws and complications everyone should be allowed. refinery29.com, "Everything We Learned About Hannah In Season 2 Of 13 Reasons Why," 21 May 2018 But some Democrats decided to go further than that and to make Strzok a martyr - or even a hero. Aaron Blake, chicagotribune.com, "7 key moments from FBI agent's Peter Strzok's wild House hearing," 12 July 2018 But some Democrats decided to go further than that and to make Strzok a martyr - or even a hero. Aaron Blake, BostonGlobe.com, "6 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing," 12 July 2018 But the fact that June gets to move effortlessly between the perfect victim and a martyr is the kind of humanity that we have been trained to expect from white women, and white women only. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Still Has A White Female Privilege Problem," 11 July 2018 The team also restores delicate sculptures depicting Catholic martyrs made from wood and cloth that are often missing heads or arms. Fox News, "AP PHOTOS: Peruvian restoration center rescues art from ruin," 4 July 2018 The Palestinian authority as a government entity pays people to kill Jews and Americans and holds them up to be martyrs. Fox News, "Rep. Nunes on the House's Russia investigation findings," 25 Mar. 2018 For some, the shooting solidified Flynt’s position as a free speech icon, as a martyr for the cause. Cincinnati Enquirer, "Read more from this Project," 13 July 2018 The death of Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith, had a similar theme. Loren A. Yadon, idahostatesman, "Leaving the ‘stage of life’ to the applause of heaven," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Likewise, the prison diary of Vibia Perpetua of Carthage, who was martyred in 203 at the age of 21 after becoming a Christian convert, recorded both her inner thoughts and daily life, making her the founding mother of prison literature. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "Literature Behind Bars," 12 July 2018 And the Islamic State militant group belatedly exalted him as a martyred disciple. Rick Gladstone, New York Times, "What Is Terrorism? Attacks in Canada and Belgium Reflect Uncertain Definition," 31 May 2018 The letter goes on: There has long been a traditional narrative of blaming, vilifying and martyring courageous women. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Celebrities Pen Powerful Open Letter Defending Asia Argento Against Misogynist Trolls," 13 July 2018 He was martyred by Emperor Nero in Rome for holding publicly to his Christian faith. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The racist history of the Bible verse the White House uses to justify separating families," 15 June 2018 Carved wooden figure of St. Apollonia This statue, which dates from around the second half of the 19th century, shows poor St. Apollonia, a Christian from Alexandria, Egypt, who was martyred at the hands of the Romans in A.D. 249. Roslyn Sulcas, New York Times, "This Exhibition Has Real Bite," 7 June 2018 Its origins can be traced to a Greek Orthodox saint whose three daughters were martyred. Asher Fogle, Good Housekeeping, "The Real Meaning Behind 29 of the Most Popular Baby Names," 6 Jan. 2016 Yet at the height of the American occupation of neighboring Iraq, Assad encouraged Syrian jihadists to go martyr themselves by killing Americans. Christopher Dickey, New York Times, "War Without End," 6 Apr. 2018 The end of Jesus Christ Superstar (spoiler alert?) shows the horror of the crucifixion, with Jesus betrayed and martyred on the cross. Caroline Framke, Vox, "The electric spectacle of Jesus Christ Superstar Live, in one shot," 2 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for martyr

Noun

Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Greek martyr-, martys witness

Verb

see martyr entry 1

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for martyr

The first known use of martyr was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for martyr

martyr

noun

English Language Learners Definition of martyr

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is killed or who suffers greatly for a religion, cause, etc.

: a person who pretends to suffer or who exaggerates suffering in order to get praise or sympathy

: a person who suffers greatly from something (such as an illness)

martyr

verb

English Language Learners Definition of martyr (Entry 2 of 2)

: to kill (someone) for refusing to give up a belief or cause

martyr

noun
mar·tyr | \ˈmär-tər \

Kids Definition of martyr

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who suffers greatly or dies rather than give up his or her religion or principles

martyr

verb
martyred; martyring

Kids Definition of martyr (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put to death for refusing to give up a belief

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