mar·​tyr·​dom | \ ˈmär-tər-dəm How to pronounce martyrdom (audio) \

Definition of martyrdom

1 : the suffering of death on account of adherence to a cause and especially to one's religious faith … defended moral truth even to the point of enduring martyrdom— Andrew Sullivan

Examples of martyrdom in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Unsurprisingly, red is associated with sacrifice, blood, martyrdom, and fire. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The Surprising Meaning Behind Easter Colors," 22 Mar. 2019 On that day, the white supremacists are said to take the ferry over to commemorate the martyrdom of a hero to their cause. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "‘Bucolic’ Whidbey Island surprised at skinhead headlines — and recent Lynnwood assault," 31 Dec. 2018 Taft’s predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt, would have been gaudily masculine in his martyrdom. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Did Chivalry Go Down With the Titanic?," 14 Dec. 2018 But there’s a moral aftermath: The missionary found martyrdom, the Sentinelese a new lease on life. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "Death of a Missionary," 25 Nov. 2018 Ali explained the painting in detail and spoke about the propriety of using a Christian source for the portrayal of his martyrdom. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, "Behind the scenes with influential graphic artists from 50 years ago," 30 May 2018 Cardinal Dolan wrote, in a reference to the martyrdom of St. Valentine in the third century. Sharon Otterman, New York Times, "Eat, Pray, Love: An Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day Dilemma," 12 Feb. 2018 Whatever happens, Mr Sharif and his daughter are likely to acquire an air of martyrdom. The Economist, "Pakistan’s former prime minister embraces jail to rally his party," 12 July 2018 While the government laid out requirements for martyrdom in 2011—stipulating that deaths must have occurred in the course of public service—what constitutes a national hero is less clear. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Guards Its Historical Heroes With New Law," 27 Apr. 2018

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

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

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Statistics for martyrdom

Last Updated

4 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for martyrdom

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

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English Language Learners Definition of martyrdom

: the suffering and death of a martyr

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having no equal

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