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

In 1991, he was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How Rebecca Schaeffer's Horrific Murder Led to the Nation's First Anti-Stalking Law," 12 Apr. 2019 The Supreme Court appeared set to throw out a murder conviction from Mississippi amid evidence of racial bias after dramatic arguments Wednesday that concluded with a rare question from Justice Clarence Thomas. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Weighs Racial Bias in Jury Selection for Murder Case," 20 Mar. 2019 Gypsy Rose now serves a 10-year sentence at the Missouri Chillicothe Correctional Center, having been convicted of second-degree murder. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "What Is Gypsy Rose Blanchard Doing Now? Hulu's 'The Act' Tells Her Story," 20 Mar. 2019 These mistakes are crucial to Making a Murderer’s look at Avery’s second murder conviction in 2007. German Lopez, Vox, "The first season was a huge hit, and quite a bit has happened since it premiered.," 18 Oct. 2018 The three men were released from prison in December after the Georgia Supreme Court threw out their murder convictions, saying in a unanimous ruling that prosecutors improperly withheld a police report that would have helped their defense. Washington Post, "‘Completely free’: No retrial of ex-soldiers in 1992 killing," 12 July 2018 In November of 2018, a jury convicted Godejohn of first-degree murder. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Who Is Nicholas Godejohn? Inside Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Relationship With Her Mother's Killer," 3 Apr. 2019 But unlike many others on death row, Dozier, who was convicted of murder, actually wants the state of Nevada to execute him. Abdullah Shihipar, Teen Vogue, "Lethal Injection Drugs and the Death Penalty, Explained," 30 Oct. 2018 Holmes was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2015. Fox News, "'Hidden in Holmes' mind': Psychologist describes findings after spending hours with Aurora movie theater killer," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Gypsy conspired with her internet boyfriend Nicolas Godejohn to murder Dee Dee. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Did Gypsy Rose Blanchard Make Money From 'The Act'?," 4 Apr. 2019 After two decades of being abused and effectively held prisoner, Gypsy came up with an escape plan, enlisting her boyfriend Nick Godejohn to murder Dee Dee. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of Dee Dee Blanchard's Murder and Gypsy Blanchard's Trial," 3 Apr. 2019 And there has been no more maddening recent example than the aftermath of the cascade of failures that enabled Nikolas Cruz to murder 17 people and injure 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. James Freeman, WSJ, "A New Sheriff for Parkland," 8 Feb. 2019 Three journalists were murdered in the country last summer; 396 aid workers were attacked. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "Cynthia McFadden Went Into the Triangle of Death," 14 Mar. 2019 When Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in October, momentum built — briefly. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Saudi Arabia is reportedly outsourcing its war in Yemen to child soldiers," 30 Dec. 2018 Caceres was let off the plane, penniless, in San Pedro Sula — the city where his ex-wife was murdered, the place that had sparked the journey. Jim Wyss And Brenda Medina, miamiherald, "Honduran man separated from son at U.S. border 2 months ago fears he 'lost everything'," 5 July 2018 When a student is brutally murdered on campus, Ali finds herself in the midst of another dark mystery. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Sasha Pieterse on Why "The Perfectionists" Need Alison's Help and Growing with the Iconic "PLL" Character," 19 Mar. 2019 The story takes a tragic and bizarre turn when her mother Dee Dee Blanchard is found murdered at her home with Gypsy Rose on the run, an act that would reveal there was much more to the story. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Patricia Arquette, Chloë Sevigny, Joey King, and AnnaSophia Robb Attend Last Night’s Premiere for Hulu’s Hair-Raising Series, The Act," 16 Mar. 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

22 Apr 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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