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

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

Buchanan was charged Monday with capital murder, according to the Democrat-Gazette. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "Dad smothered screaming infant daughter — then tried to shock her back to life, Ark. police say," 12 July 2018 Fort Lauderdale police issued an arrest warrant, charging Butler with first degree murder. Meryl Kornfield, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Man accused of stabbing brother to death turns himself in," 9 July 2018 Wendy Lavarnia is still in custody, charged with murder. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Lawyer: Man charged in son's death apparently took his own life on Father's Day," 26 June 2018 The Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force reopened the case in 2011, and the next year, Hill, Pierre Catlett and Mayes were charged with the murder. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Indiana Supreme Court denies review of man's appeal in 1980 Hammond cop killing case," 20 June 2018 When Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder on July 13, 2013, the phrase Black Lives Matter was coined. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Trayvon Martin: Parents promote 'Rest in Power' documentary," 13 July 2018 Leon was arrested Wednesday morning in College Station and charged with criminal solicitation of capital murder. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Third suspect in Texas teen's alleged murder-for-hire plot of father is arrested," 13 July 2018 New information published in a 2017 book prompted federal investigators to reopen their probe of Emmett’s murder, according to two people familiar with the case. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "Emmett Till’s mother opened his casket and sparked the civil rights movement," 12 July 2018 Cruz, 19, is charged with 17 counts of murder; prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Secret Service urges U.S. schools to set up 'threat teams' to prevent shootings," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He had been murdered after a white woman accused him of offending her. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At PEM, Sally Mann stays outside the comfort zone," 12 July 2018 Over the next two decades, The Coup put out five more albums, with ballads about pimps named Jesus and musings on ways to murder high-powered execs. Joseph Bien-kahn, WIRED, "Radical As Ever, Boots Riley Takes On the Tech Boom," 4 July 2018 In the show, Grant stars as politician Jeremy Thorpe, a member of parliament in 1970s and a leader in the Liberal Party, who was put on trial for conspiracy to murder his former lover, Norman Scott (played in the show by Ben Whishaw). Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How to Watch Hugh Grant in A Very English Scandal," 29 June 2018 Both share an affinity for Italian Greyhounds and Sasha would love to find out which of the many urban legends about the Empress of Russia are actually true (including that one about her possibly knowing about the plan to murder her husband, Peter). Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Sasha Velour on Dressing Like Queer Royalty and How Youth Can Learn About LGBTQ History," 27 June 2018 They were murdered in western Siberia, where there weren’t any press or diplomats. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "A Century Ago, the Romanovs Met a Gruesome End," 26 June 2018 He was murdered in 1984 in Los Angeles by his minister father. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Report: Marvin Gaye movie in the works with producer Dr. Dre," 18 June 2018 Lambesis was sentenced to six years in prison in 2014, after pleading guilty to soliciting a hit man to murder his wife, from whom he is now divorced. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "As I Lay Dying plays comeback show and explains reunion with singer after he solicited murder of his wife," 18 June 2018 The singer’s death continues to haunt fans like Orlando resident Jill Hubbard, 22, who saw her perform in Chicago the week before she was murdered. Lisa Maria Garza, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orlando remembers slain singer Christina Grimmie with intimate vigil, social media tributes," 11 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

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

Verb

see murder entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about murder

Statistics for murder

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

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

: 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

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

playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!