martyr

noun
mar·​tyr | \ ˈmär-tər How to pronounce martyr (audio) \

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 How to pronounce martyrization (audio) \ noun
martyrize \ ˈmär-​tə-​ˌrīz How to pronounce martyrize (audio) \ transitive verb

Examples of martyr in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After Soleimani’s death, the Iranian regime immediately set about framing him as a martyr. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Soleimani assassination sets back opposition to Iran’s regime," 7 Jan. 2020 The 62-year-old general was the second most powerful man in Iran and is seen by some Iranians as a war hero and martyr. refinery29.com, "Young Women In Iran On Life In A Country At Boiling Point," 16 Jan. 2020 The blood of the martyrs and the wounded will not go in vain, and the response will be harsh for the American forces in Iraq,’’ said Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, of which Kataib Hezbollah is a part. BostonGlobe.com, "BAGHDAD — US airstrikes against bases of an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq drew condemnation across the Iraqi political spectrum Monday, as well as threats of retaliation, raising the risk of an escalating spiral of attacks and questions over the continued viability of the US military presence.," 1 Jan. 2020 The company—along with its fearless leader—became something of a martyr, the underdog just trying to make America healthy while corrupt fat cats lined their pockets with the exorbitant cost of chronic illness. Tessa Love, Outside Online, "Greg Glassman’s Easy Health Care Fix: More CrossFit," 16 Jan. 2020 But after his death, his vice president and successor, Lyndon Johnson, worked with the president’s widow to depict Kennedy as a martyr to civil rights. Fred Siegel, National Review, "The Forgotten Failures of the Great Society," 9 Jan. 2020 As a martyr, Soleimani represented an even greater threat to Iran’s enemies, Salami said. Dallas News, "Iran strikes back at U.S. with missile attack at two bases in Iraq," 8 Jan. 2020 As a martyr, Soleimani represented an even greater threat to Iran's enemies, Salami said. Anchorage Daily News, "Scores reported dead in stampede during funeral for Iran general killed by US," 7 Jan. 2020 Pope Francis declared last year that Miller died a martyr at age 37. Josh Verges, Twin Cities, "Martyr who taught in St. Paul needs a miracle to reach sainthood," 24 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The search launched Friday, Valentine's Day, a holiday that commemorates the day Saint Valentine was martyred. Ella Torres, ABC News, "The birthplace of Saint Valentine is looking for an American partner," 14 Feb. 2020 Commemorations culminated in Ashura, on the tenth of the month, when Hussein was martyred. The Economist, "Trapped in Iran," 28 Jan. 2020 Khan Mohammad another villager said that on the day of the incident there were around 100 to 110 worshippers in the mosque, of which more than 70 were martyred and more than 30 others were wounded. Rahim Faiez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Afghan village buries its dead after mosque bombing kills 66," 19 Oct. 2019 The Russian boy Pavlik Morozov, 13, was supposedly martyred as a Hero of the Soviet Revolution for turning in his parents to the Bolsheviks. Daniel Lee, National Review, "Greta Thunberg and Samantha Smith: Propaganda Poster Girls," 2 Oct. 2019 Its revelations are from the mid-1960s, at the height of the civil-rights movement, the years before King was martyred and canonized, his name bestowed upon a national holiday and a thousand avenues and high schools. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "A Reckoning With Martin Luther King," 17 June 2019 For Islamist militants around the world, being martyred in an operation during Ramadan is considered especially heroic. New York Times, "India Declares a Rare Cease-Fire in Kashmir for Ramadan," 17 May 2018 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

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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Time Traveler for martyr

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for martyr

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Martyr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martyrize?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=m&file=martyr03. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for martyr

martyr

noun
How to pronounce martyr (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of martyr

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who is killed or who suffers greatly for a religion, cause, etc.
disapproving : 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 How to pronounce martyr (audio) \

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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