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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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

He’s been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, police said. Rosemary Sobol, chicagotribune.com, "1 dead, 1 wounded in Waukegan shooting; 15-year-old boy charged," 14 July 2018 Two white men -- Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam -- were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of the Chicago teen, who had been staying with relatives in northern Mississippi at the time. CBS News, "Author of Emmett Till book gave FBI interview recordings," 13 July 2018 Treece has been charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, according to online court records. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "After killing his wife, he stood over her body for hours on his deck, Missouri cops say," 13 July 2018 Ford was charged with murder in the Hayden case, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office told the Union-Tribune. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Man charged in cold-case murder of elderly California woman," 13 July 2018 Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his brother J.W. Milam were charged with murder but acquitted a few weeks later. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Justice Dept. reopens Emmett Till murder case that helped inspire civil rights movement," 12 July 2018 Bashunn Phillips, 24, is charged with murder in the death of Shar-Ron Mason in December 2013. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Anne Arundel judge to decide 2013 murder case against Odenton man," 12 July 2018 Two white men — Donham's then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half brother, J.W. Milam — were charged with murder but acquitted in the slaying of Chicago teen Till, who had been staying with relatives in northern Mississippi at the time. Jay Reeves, Anchorage Daily News, "‘New information’ prompts US to reopen investigation of brutal 1955 slaying of black teen," 12 July 2018 Wendy and Kansas Lavarnia were charged with first-degree murder in March 2017 after their 9-year-old son Landen was fatally shot in the head at their Phoenix home. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "Mother of fatally shot Phoenix boy wants grand jury to reconsider murder charges," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Neighbors told the paper at the time that Hayden left her door unlocked regularly and there were no irregular signs before she was found brutally murdered. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Man charged in cold-case murder of elderly California woman," 13 July 2018 Weeks after murdering Till, Roy Bryant and Milam were acquitted after a jury deliberation that lasted just one hour. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "‘New Information’ Leads DOJ to Reopen Emmett Till Murder Case," 12 July 2018 Grant is remarkable as British MP Jeremy Thorpe, who is arrested on charges of trying to have his ex-lover, a man (played by Ben Whishaw), murdered by some bumbling thugs. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "Hugh Grant does justice to ‘A Very English Scandal’," 11 July 2018 In predictable crime-show fashion, there are plenty of maimed and murdered female bodies on this show, both those that crop up in Camille’s memories and those discovered in the present day. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Sharp Objects," 11 July 2018 Last summer, a van filled with knife-wielding terrorists rammed into crowds on London Bridge, murdering eight people and leaving 48 more injured. David Lammy, Time, "I'm a British Lawmaker. Here's Why I’m Protesting Trump’s Visit to the U.K.," 10 July 2018 Remembering the five 'Capital Gazette' journalists murdered by gunman while working at their Annapolis, Maryland office. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette shooting highlights the dangers facing today's journalists," 3 July 2018 Remembering the five 'Capital Gazette' journalists murdered by gunman while working at their Annapolis, Maryland office. Angela Forburger, azcentral, "'We will not be silenced': Reporter at vigil for 5 slain in Capital Gazette shooting," 1 July 2018 The Stonewall riots were led by transgender women of color, a community disproportionately targeted and murdered by cops nationwide. Devlyn Camp, Chicago Reader, "Perspective / News / LGBTQ+ Pride double standard? Bars upset after police forced some to close early after parade," 29 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

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

Noun

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

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Statistics for murder

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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

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