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

Examples of martyr in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Talk of impeachment or removal from office would make Trump a martyr to his base, one person said. Tribune News Service, Arkansas Online, "Trump said to plan defiant final week amid push for ouster," 11 Jan. 2021 Babbitt’s emergence as a martyr for many of the different groups that made up the pro-Trump mob is no surprise. Vera Bergengruen, Time, "'Our First Martyr.' How Ashli Babbitt Is Being Turned Into a Far-Right Recruiting Tool," 10 Jan. 2021 Some adherents depicted Ashli Babbitt, the San Diego woman killed in the melee, as a martyr for the cause. Anchorage Daily News, "Far-right extremists want to target more capitols, but are divided after DC riot," 10 Jan. 2021 Her comrades in that movement now call her a martyr and plan to gather at the Washington Monument Saturday to hold a vigil in her name. Peter Jamison, BostonGlobe.com, "Ashli Babbitt’s journey from capital ‘guardian’ to invader," 9 Jan. 2021 The day after Christmas, known as Boxing Day throughout much of the world, is also St. Stephen’s Day, which commemorates the stoning to death of the first Christian martyr. Regina Hansen, WSJ, "The Darker Side of Christmas," 19 Dec. 2020 Anti-government extremists around the country, to whom Lemp has become a beloved martyr, have also questioned the shooting. Washington Post, "Maryland SWAT officer cleared in fatal shooting of Duncan Lemp during execution of no-knock warrant," 31 Dec. 2020 Thomas Peter/Reuters Patriotic education guidelines were released, with museums and martyr memorials designated as patriotic education sites for people to visit. Liza Lin, WSJ, "Xi’s China Crafts Campaign to Boost Youth Patriotism," 30 Dec. 2020 Fogel considered too inconvenient for a more martyr-centric approach. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘The Dissident’ documentary presents the killing of Jamal Khashoggi as a thriller," 24 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ursula, legend holds, was a British princess martyred in Germany in the 4th century, along with as many as 11,000 of her holy companions. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "A Puerto Rican Fishing Road Trip for Silver Kings, Bigmouths, Mullet, and More," 27 May 2020 The name speaks to a cherished legend about 11,000 virgins, followers of St. Ursula, who arrived in town by boat in medieval times and were eventually martyred in Cologne. Dave Seminara, New York Times, "36 Hours in Basel," 20 Feb. 2020 The Catholic Church recognized at least three different saints with the same Roman name, all of whom were later martyred. cleveland, "The long history of Valentine’s Day told as a short story at The Normandy in Rocky River," 10 Feb. 2020 Start the story with Emiliano Zapata, the peasant leader from a village in the central state of Morelos, who was tricked into a military ambush and martyred in 1919. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Lasting Influence of Mexico’s Great Muralists," 24 Feb. 2020 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

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

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Martyr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martyr. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on martyr

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