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

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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

The film goes on to reimagine the case of the Manson murders, which saw an eight-and-a-half month pregnant Tate stabbed to death, along with four friends. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "The Trailer for Hilary Duff's 'The Haunting of Sharon Tate' Is Full Terror," 8 Jan. 2019 The Holocaust was made possible in large part through the astonishing Nazi infrastructure dedicated to Jewish murder. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Study Shows Precisely How Nazi Infrastructure Enabled the Worst of the Holocaust," 2 Jan. 2019 Now, thrust into the wide world, the rabbits encounter one danger after another, from creepy rabbit cults to a murder of killer crows to a scary authoritarian rabbit labor camp. Aja Romano, Vox, "Netflix’s new Watership Down proves the beloved children’s classic was a horror story all along," 30 Dec. 2018 The Saudi connection to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen have sparked a growing backlash against the kingdom and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "SoftBank’s Biggest Backers Balk at Planned $16 Billion Acquisition of WeWork," 19 Dec. 2018 The movie’s steeped in specific personal memories, from the TV shows his family watches, to the vendors on the streets, to political murder on the streets. John Powers, Vogue, "Plenty of Movies at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival Got Awards Buzz—But Which Ones Will Go All the Way?," 12 Sep. 2018 Leaving Netflix September 1 One Dollar: A mysterious $1 bill somehow connects a group of strangers to the same murder. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "8 TV Shows and Movies You'll Regret Missing This Week," 27 Aug. 2018 The passenger sent out a message to her friends asking for help prior to her murder, but more than 14 hours elapsed before local authorities arrested Zhong. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "China’s Didi suspends ride-share service after the murder of a female passenger," 26 Aug. 2018 Malinowski’s deposition against her killer was made public last week when it was played for the court as Slager pleaded guilty to her murder. Adam Carlson, PEOPLE.com, "Mom-of-2 Describes Horror of Boyfriend Lighting Her on Fire as He Pleads to Her Murder: 'Pure Evil'," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 2014, for instance, ISIS murdered its American and British hostages—including the journalists Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff—while cutting a deal for its European captives. Joel Simon, WSJ, "A Smarter Way to Recover Hostages," 4 Jan. 2019 While the Ynaa come in peace, tensions arise as an islander is murdered, and as his brother responds in kind. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "All the science fiction and fantasy books we’re looking forward to in 2019," 30 Dec. 2018 Allred has represented the family of O.J. Simpson’s murdered ex-wife, Nicole. James Atlas, Town & Country, "The Year of the Celebrity Super Lawyer," 3 Dec. 2018 Russia murders people routinely, at home and abroad. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 The older hoofer, Velma, murdered her cheating husband and sister. Hugh Hunter, Philly.com, "'Chicago' at Broadway Theatre of Pitman: Lots of talent, entertainment," 8 July 2018 The shooter, Jarrod Ramos, murdered five people at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, MD, in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history, belongs on that list. refinery29.com, "The Capital Gazette Shooting Is A Tragic Reminder: Take Abuse Of Women Seriously.," 29 June 2018 Separately, unknown attackers murdered Shujaat Bukhari, one of Kashmir’s most respected journalists. The Economist, "Politics this week," 21 June 2018 No place indeed should murder sanctuarize; Revenge should have no bounds. Walt Hunter, The Atlantic, "When Hamlet Starts Showing Up in Federal Court," 13 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.

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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

14 Jan 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

: 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

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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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