mar·​tyr·​dom ˈmär-tər-dəm How to pronounce martyrdom (audio)
: 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 martyrdomAndrew Sullivan

Examples of martyrdom in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yet a year earlier, only a few days after Sept. 11, 2001, a cultural Marxist professor lectured a staff meeting on the need to understand and sympathize with the 19 unfortunate men who had been driven to their martyrdom by Western colonial oppression. Christopher Nadon, WSJ, 30 Nov. 2023 The screenwriters, Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black, had a difficult story to tell; there’s no martyrdom to provide a tragic shape, and Rustin’s mastery of logistics isn’t an obviously dramatic subject. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 But that would mean abandoning a generations-long commitment to martyrdom — a distinctly Middle Eastern project that demands that its sons safeguard their land by throwing their bodies on top of it. Matt Bradley, NBC News, 2 Nov. 2023 My exit from the academy was not an act of martyrdom. Jeanell English, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2023 Yet the Palestinian militant group was always cynical in its use of violence and in its perpetuation of a cult of martyrdom. Sam Kiley, CNN, 14 Oct. 2023 Of course the martyrdom of those young people 60 years ago helped to change the world. John Archibald |, al, 15 Sep. 2023 Linked by the name Brown, as well as by evocations of martyrdom and injustice, Bleeding Kansas and Fiery Ferguson—separated by a century and a half—can seem not so far apart. Nicole Sealey, The New Yorker, 24 July 2023 His martyrdom is an event that is particularly commemorated by Shia Muslims. Manal Aman, Woman's Day, 12 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'martyrdom.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near martyrdom

Cite this Entry

“Martyrdom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mar·​tyr·​dom ˈmärt-ərd-əm How to pronounce martyrdom (audio)
: the sufferings and death of a martyr
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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