mar·​tyr·​dom | \ˈmär-tər-dəm \

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

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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 The links represent a single thistle and four interlinked sprigs of rue, and a pendant portraying St. Andrew carrying the cross of his martyrdom hangs down the center, according to the royal family. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William's Super Ornate Outfit in Scotland Is Full of Royal Symbolism," 6 July 2018 Yet his martyrdom helped change America for the better. The Economist, "A different dream," 5 July 2018 Polish identity has leaned heavily on collective suffering and even a sense of martyrdom, sociologists say. James Mcauley, Washington Post, "Poland’s new ‘Holocaust law’ comes up against massacre of Jews in 1941," 22 Feb. 2018 However, Martin’s martyrdom did not go in vain, and in the following years, the outrage brought about remarkable change. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "‘I was so distraught’: Readers remember the day Dr. King was shot," 3 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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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on martyrdom

Spanish Central: Translation of martyrdom

Nglish: Translation of martyrdom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of martyrdom for Arabic Speakers

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by force of circumstances

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