murder

noun
mur·​der | \ ˈmər-dər How to pronounce murder (audio) \

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 How to pronounce murdering (audio) \

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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder after a four day trial last year. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Is Nicholas Godejohn? Gypsy Blanchard's Boyfriend Plays a Key Role in The Act," 2 May 2019 Simpson’s mid-'90s murder trial is responsible for permanently altering the news cycle. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Time of True Crime," 26 Apr. 2019 His escape came in the middle of Souzer’s trial on a murder charge in juvenile court, said Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office. Amanda Lee Myers, The Seattle Times, "Escaped teenager charged in mother’s death recaptured," 12 Apr. 2019 In 1991, he was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How Rebecca Schaeffer's Horrific Murder Led to the Nation's First Anti-Stalking Law," 12 Apr. 2019 The Supreme Court appeared set to throw out a murder conviction from Mississippi amid evidence of racial bias after dramatic arguments Wednesday that concluded with a rare question from Justice Clarence Thomas. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Weighs Racial Bias in Jury Selection for Murder Case," 20 Mar. 2019 Gypsy Rose now serves a 10-year sentence at the Missouri Chillicothe Correctional Center, having been convicted of second-degree murder. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "What Is Gypsy Rose Blanchard Doing Now? Hulu's 'The Act' Tells Her Story," 20 Mar. 2019 These mistakes are crucial to Making a Murderer’s look at Avery’s second murder conviction in 2007. German Lopez, Vox, "The first season was a huge hit, and quite a bit has happened since it premiered.," 18 Oct. 2018 The three men were released from prison in December after the Georgia Supreme Court threw out their murder convictions, saying in a unanimous ruling that prosecutors improperly withheld a police report that would have helped their defense. Washington Post, "‘Completely free’: No retrial of ex-soldiers in 1992 killing," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If the prospect of murdering asylum seekers seemed to cheer up the commander-in-chief, other developments of the week were determined to wipe that smile off his face. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “How Do You Stop These People?” “Shoot Them!”," 12 May 2019 The three young men were accused of murdering a white man, the result of a robbery gone wrong, but Cameron wasn’t part of the killing. Mary Louise Schumacher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trailblazing America's Black Holocaust Museum poised to reopen," 15 June 2018 Prominent Russians to have been murdered in Kiev include journalist Pavel Sheremet, who was killed in a car bomb in 2016, and ex-Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov, who was shot dead in 2017. Daryna Krasnolutska, Bloomberg.com, "The Strange Case of the Murdered Russian Journalist Who Came Back to Life," 30 May 2018 The faux baseball player loses it, and the gang believes this incident led him to murder his dry cleaner. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "The definitive ranking of the 44 all-time greatest 'Seinfeld' sports moments," 14 May 2018 Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor found guilty of murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall, will not be appealing his murder conviction after all. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "Peter Madsen, Found Guilty of Murdering Journalist Kim Wall, Will Not Appeal Conviction," 7 May 2018 Neelley pleaded guilty to kidnapping the woman her husband was convicted of murdering, and was sentenced to life in prison in Georgia. Ivana Hrynkiw, AL.com, "Judith Ann Neelley waives parole hearing in teen's brutal 1982 rape, murder," 1 May 2018 Newspapers reported that he had been held in positive regard by Oxford townspeople and his employer, the widow he was accused of murdering. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "Lynched in Oxford: Descendant tries to reconcile official, family histories of 1892 killing," 30 Apr. 2018 And in 2015, with the help of Gypsy Rose's internet boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, Dee Dee Blanchard was murdered. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "What Is Gypsy Rose Blanchard Doing Now? Hulu's 'The Act' Tells Her Story," 20 Mar. 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for murder

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for murder

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

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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 How to pronounce murder (audio) \

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 How to pronounce murder (audio) \

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

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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

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