1

murder

play
noun mur·der \ˈmər-dər\

Definition of murder

  1. 1 :  the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought was convicted of murder

  2. 2a :  something very difficult or dangerous the traffic was murder carrying the luggage was murder on my backb :  something outrageous or blameworthy getting away with murder

  3. 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

Examples of murder in a Sentence

  1. She was accused of murder.

  2. the mass murder of civilians in wartime

  3. a string of unsolved murders

  4. Traffic is murder this time of day.

Recent Examples of murder from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of murder

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


2

murder

verb mur·der

Definition of murder

murdered

;

murdering

play \ˈmər-d(ə-)riŋ\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice

  3. 2 :  to slaughter wantonly :  slay

  4. 3a :  to put an end tob :  tease, tormentc :  mutilate, mangle murders Frenchd :  to defeat badly

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to commit murder

Examples of murder in a Sentence

  1. He was arrested and accused of murdering his wife.

  2. His wife was found murdered.

  3. a dictator who is responsible for murdering thousands of innocent people

  4. The band murdered that song.

Recent Examples of murder from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of murder

see 1murder

Synonym Discussion of murder

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


MURDER Defined for English Language Learners

murder

play
noun

Definition of murder for English Language Learners

  • : the crime of deliberately killing a person

  • : something that is very difficult or unpleasant

murder

verb

Definition of murder for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

murder

play
noun mur·der \ˈmər-dər\

Definition of murder for Students

  1. :  the intentional and unlawful killing of a human being


2

murder

play
verb mur·der

Definition of murder for Students

murdered

;

murdering

  1. 1 :  to kill (someone) intentionally and unlawfully

  2. 2 :  to spoil or ruin by performing or using badly murder a song

murderer

noun

Law Dictionary

1

murder

play
noun mur·der \ˈmər-dər\

Legal Definition of murder

  1. :  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 Editor's 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 Editor's 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 Editor's 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

Origin and Etymology of murder

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


2

murder

transitive verb mur·der

Legal Definition of murder

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

  2. intransitive verb
  3. :  to commit murder



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

set in a bent position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!