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

Hernandez, in prison for a 2015 murder conviction, killed himself five days later. Washington Post, "Weinstein overhauling legal team as trial looms in 60 days," 11 July 2019 Stephen Bice threatened to kill his wife two months before the murder-suicide. Kaylee Remington, cleveland.com, "Cleveland quadruple homicide is latest example in long line of restraining orders failing to protect women from abusers," 11 July 2019 Under Massachusetts law, a first-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole for adults. NBC News, "Massachusetts teen sentenced to life for killing, decapitating classmate," 10 July 2019 The murder case helped lead to the ouster of the Maricopa County sheriff at the time. Richard Ruelas, AZCentral.com, "Lost to Time From the Don Bolles files: Murder and the drug ring's pot plane," 9 July 2019 As the city’s murder rate rose to the nation’s highest, investigators worked to take down Glenn Metz. Casey Parks, USA Today, "'You don't know what you did for me': Released from prison by Obama, now on the dean's list," 8 July 2019 Such entrenched abuse takes years to uproot, said attorney Joshua Tepfer, who represented a man who had his murder conviction thrown out last year by Milan over allegations that detectives with ties to Burge abused him into confessing. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Judge decides Kim Foxx’s office can handle cases involving alleged torture by Jon Burge, detectives," 8 July 2019 In 2009, former Titans quarterback Steve McNair was killed on July 4 in an apparent murder-suicide. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "NFL offseason often a time for bad news," 6 July 2019 Google has backed down in a spat with the New Zealand government after its email alert system Trends breached a court order suppressing details of a high-profile murder case. James Vincent, The Verge, "Google suspends Trends email alerts in New Zealand after breaching court order," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

So, Nate takes matters into his own hands, and beats Tyler to a pulp, nearly murdering him. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Thinking Through Euphoria Season 1, Episode 2: "Stuntin' Like My Daddy"," 24 June 2019 During celebrations like these, Winfield can’t help but remember his brother, Ju-Juaw, who was murdered in 2007. Juliana Kim, baltimoresun.com, "'This is going to save lives starting today': Baltimore's sixth Safe Streets site opens in Brooklyn-Curtis Bay," 19 June 2019 They were murdered and dumped on Cleveland’s East Side. John Caniglia, cleveland.com, "Convicted serial killer Samuel Little charged in the slayings of two Cincinnati women," 7 June 2019 Khashoggi, who was a columnist for the Washington Post and an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October where he was brutally murdered. Amy Gunia, Time, "The U.S. Shared Nuclear Information With Saudi Arabia After Khashoggi's Murder," 5 June 2019 Repin’s canvas depicts the sixteenth-century tsar cradling his son, Tsarevitch Ivan, moments after murdering him. Noah Sneider, Harper's magazine, "Slash Fictions," 10 May 2019 One tradition says the messenger who was on his way to deliver the news to Texas was murdered by greedy plantation owners. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Juneteenth event draws big crowd; brings old friends together," 16 June 2019 Ariel's mom was in Peter Pan and was murdered by Captain Hook Disney is no stranger to easter eggs, and this one seems to be more than 30 years in the making. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "20 Insane Disney Movie Fan Theories That Will Blow. Your. Mind.," 16 Apr. 2019 Of this total, a quarter were deported and murdered by the Nazi killing machine. Ronald C. Rosbottom, WSJ, "‘The Survival of the Jews in France, 1940-44’ Review: Living Under Occupation," 9 Apr. 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

15 Jul 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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