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

Many in Kerala see Mulakkal as a martyr, and a string of supporters visited him in jail. Tim Sullivan, The Seattle Times, "AP finds long history of nuns abused by priests in India," 1 Jan. 2019 The gag order backfired, turning English Defense League founder Tommy Robinson into a sort of free-speech martyr to conservatives such as Donald Trump Jr. and Roseanne Barr before the gag order was lifted Tuesday. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Conservative outrage after anti-Muslim campaigner Tommy Robinson secretly jailed in Britain," 29 May 2018 But as a black designer, I’m expected to be a martyr for my works. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Kerby Jean-Raymond on Pyer Moss' 'American Also' Campaign and Criticism of His 'Stop Calling 911' Shirt," 6 Nov. 2018 Francis declared Romero a martyr in 2015, and Romero was beatified that same year. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Oscar Romero, a martyr for social justice and the newest Catholic saint, explained," 15 Oct. 2018 The researchers in New Zealand suggest that religion directly comforts people who are suffering or reminds them of the resilience of others who suffered greatly too, like the Bible’s Jesus on the cross or martyrs who were tortured. Wesley Wildman, Smithsonian, "How Computer Scientists Model the Role of Religion in Society," 11 June 2018 Canonization, the last step in the process, requires proof of two miracles (or one in the case of a martyr). Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Oscar Romero, a martyr for social justice and the newest Catholic saint, explained," 15 Oct. 2018 Booting someone like Jones from Facebook or YouTube altogether could easily turn him into a martyr among his paranoid fans. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Op-ed: Alex Jones is a crackpot—but banning him from Facebook might be a bad idea [Updated]," 6 Aug. 2018 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

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 and Verb

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

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Statistics for martyr

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on martyr

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with martyr

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for martyr

Spanish Central: Translation of martyr

Nglish: Translation of martyr for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of martyr for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about martyr

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