murder

noun
mur·​der | \ ˈmər-dər \

Definition of murder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought was convicted of murder
2a : something very difficult or dangerous the traffic was murder carrying the luggage was murder on my back
b : something outrageous or blameworthy getting away with murder
3 : a flock of crows There's a reason the proper term for a flock of them is a murder of crows, and it's not because we like having them around.— Jeffrey Kluger

murder

verb
murdered; murdering\ ˈmər-​d(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of murder (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice
2 : to slaughter wantonly : slay
3a : to put an end to
b : tease, torment
c : mutilate, mangle murders French
d : to defeat badly

intransitive verb

: to commit murder

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for murder

Synonyms: Noun

agony, Gehenna, hell, horror, misery, nightmare, torment, torture

Synonyms: Verb

assassinate, bump off, croak [slang], dispatch, do in, execute, get, ice [slang], knock off, liquidate, neutralize, off [slang], put away, rub out, slay, snuff, take out, terminate, whack [slang]

Antonyms: Noun

heaven, paradise

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for murder

Verb

kill, slay, murder, assassinate, dispatch, execute mean to deprive of life. kill merely states the fact of death caused by an agency in any manner. killed in an accident frost killed the plants slay is a chiefly literary term implying deliberateness and violence but not necessarily motive. slew thousands of the Philistines murder specifically implies stealth and motive and premeditation and therefore full moral responsibility. convicted of murdering a rival assassinate applies to deliberate killing openly or secretly often for political motives. terrorists assassinated the Senator dispatch stresses quickness and directness in putting to death. dispatched the sentry with one bullet execute stresses putting to death as a legal penalty. executed by lethal gas

Examples of murder in a Sentence

Noun

She was accused of murder. the mass murder of civilians in wartime a string of unsolved murders Traffic is murder this time of day.

Verb

He was arrested and accused of murdering his wife. His wife was found murdered. a dictator who is responsible for murdering thousands of innocent people The band murdered that song.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But just as it's portrayed in the TV version, Joe dumps Beck's body and implicates Dr. Nicky for her murder. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Is Beck Really Dead on You—Or Could Joe's Ex Be Back for Season 2?," 27 Jan. 2019 The world is still reeling from the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the role of the kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), in his murder. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The 7 biggest foreign news stories to watch in 2019, from Brexit to North Korea," 24 Dec. 2018 Her responsibilities included interviewing people who’d been detained at the downtown courthouse (the same complex where Simpson would later be tried for murder). Jessica Chou, Glamour, "Shawn Holley Will Free You Now," 11 Dec. 2018 Godejohn is currently in custody awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, "Gypsy Rose Blanchard: A Look Back at Her Surreal Childhood and the Mother She Murdered," 6 Nov. 2018 More than 60 years after his murder, the legacy of Emmett Till’s teenage black body is still the target of violence. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Someone Shot the Sign Marking the Spot Emmett Till's Body Was Found — Again," 6 Aug. 2018 After Maurizio Gucci was gunned down on the red marble floor of his Milanese office building early on March 27, 1995, the question was not just why he had been killed but who — among his enemies — had gone through with committing his murder? Adam Carlson, PEOPLE.com, "Hit Man in the House of Gucci: Behind the Twisted Murder Plot That Brought Down a Fashion Mogul," 12 July 2018 The trial into Caruana Galizia's death continues with at least three men accused of her murder. Brooke A. Lewis, Houston Chronicle, "Murder trial begins for young woman who shot aspiring rapper in Cinco Ranch home," 12 July 2018 Joey King is about to take on one of her most challenging roles yet: the real-life role of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a young woman currently serving ten years in prison on a second-degree murder charge. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Joey King Looks Totally Different as Gypsy Rose Blanchard in Hulu's "The Act"," 4 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For those who don't know, Ted Bundy is a serial killer who murdered multiple women in the 70s. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything to Know About Zac Efron's New Ted Bundy Movie "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile"," 29 Jan. 2019 Among the death-row inmates who will avoid a death sentence under Thursday’s ruling are serial killer Robert Lee Yates, who killed 15 women, and Dayva Cross, who murdered his wife and two stepdaughters in 1999. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Death penalty struck down by Washington Supreme Court, taking 8 men off death row," 12 Oct. 2018 Some of California’s more notorious death row inmates are: --Scott Peterson, who murdered his pregnant wife, Laci. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Will lame duck Jerry Brown commute sentences of every single death row inmate in one of his last acts as California governor?," 31 Aug. 2018 Multiple reports indicate that MBS, who had been heralded as a liberalizing force in the country and praised by Western leaders and media, authorized a team to go to Istanbul to murder the journalist inside the consulate and dismember his body. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Time’s 2018 Person of the Year is Jamal Khashoggi and other “Guardians” of the truth," 11 Dec. 2018 Claire and Jamie were willing to try to rewrite history—to murder Dougal even—to save the Highlanders. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "Outlander's Sex Scenes Are More Than Hot—They're Genuinely Feminist," 7 Dec. 2018 London Moore, a transgender woman of color in Florida, was the 20th transgender person to be killed this year, and the fifth transgender woman to be murdered in Florida alone. Dia Dipasupil, Teen Vogue, "It's Not Enough to Cast Transgender Models if You Won't Fight for Transgender People," 22 Oct. 2018 Man, charged with threatening to murder a member of the immediate family of a U.S. official, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted. Jaclyn Gallucci, Time, "Net Neutrality Supporter Threatened to Murder FCC Chairman's Children, DOJ Says," 30 June 2018 Man has been charged with threatening to murder a U.S. official's immediate family member with the intent to intimidate or interfere with the official's official duties. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Man arrested on charges of threatening to kill FCC chairman's family," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'murder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of murder

Noun

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

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for murder

Noun and Verb

partly from Middle English murther, from Old English morthor; partly from Middle English murdre, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English morthor; akin to Old High German mord murder, Latin mort-, mors death, mori to die, mortuus dead, Greek brotos mortal

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about murder

Statistics for murder

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for murder

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for murder

murder

noun

English Language Learners Definition of murder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the crime of deliberately killing a person
informal : something that is very difficult or unpleasant

murder

verb

English Language Learners Definition of murder (Entry 2 of 2)

: to kill (a person) in a deliberate and unlawful way : to commit the murder of (someone)
: to spoil or ruin (something) : to perform (something) very badly
: to defeat (an opponent) very badly

murder

noun
mur·​der | \ ˈmər-dər \

Kids Definition of murder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the intentional and unlawful killing of a human being

murder

verb
murdered; murdering

Kids Definition of murder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to kill (someone) intentionally and unlawfully
2 : to spoil or ruin by performing or using badly murder a song

Other Words from murder

murderer noun

murder

noun
mur·​der | \ ˈmər-dər \

Legal Definition of murder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the crime of unlawfully and unjustifiably killing another under circumstances defined by statute (as with premeditation) especially : such a crime committed purposely, knowingly, and recklessly with extreme indifference to human life or during the course of a serious felony (as robbery or rape) — compare cold blood, cooling time, homicide, manslaughter

Note: Self-defense, necessity, and lack of capacity for criminal responsibility (as because of insanity) are defenses to a charge of murder. Most state statutes and the U.S. Code divide murder into two degrees. Florida, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania currently have three degrees of murder. Some states do not assign degrees of murder.

depraved-heart murder \ di-​ˈprāvd-​ˈhärt-​ \
: a murder that is the result of an act which is dangerous to others and shows that the perpetrator has a depraved mind and no regard for human life

Note: Depraved-heart murder is usually considered second- or third-degree murder.

felony murder
: a murder that occurs in the commission of a serious felony (as burglary or sexual battery) — compare misdemeanor-manslaughter at manslaughter

Note: Felony murder is usually considered first-degree murder. Felony murder does not require specific intent to kill, and an accessory to the felony may also be charged with the murder.

first-degree murder
: a murder that is committed with premeditation or during the course of a serious felony (as kidnapping) or that otherwise (as because of extreme cruelty) requires the most serious punishment under the law
second-degree murder
: a murder that is committed without premeditation but with some intent (as general or transferred intent) or other circumstances not covered by the first-degree murder statute
third-degree murder
: a murder that is not first- or second-degree murder: as
a : a murder committed in the perpetration of a felony not listed in the first-degree murder statute
b : depraved-heart murder in this entry

Legal Definition of murder (Entry 2 of 2)

: to kill (a human being) unlawfully and under circumstances constituting murder

intransitive verb

: to commit murder

History and Etymology for murder

Noun

partly from Old English morthor; partly from Old French murdre, of Germanic origin

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on murder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with murder

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for murder

Spanish Central: Translation of murder

Nglish: Translation of murder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of murder for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about murder

Comments on murder

What made you want to look up murder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

excited commotion or publicity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!