1

murder

play
noun mur·der \ ˈmər-dər \

Definition of murder

1 :the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought
  • was convicted of murder
2 a :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

Examples of murder in a Sentence

  1. She was accused of murder.

  2. the mass murder of civilians in wartime

  3. a string of unsolved murders

  4. Traffic is murder this time of day.

Recent Examples of murder from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of murder

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


2

murder

verb

Definition of murder

murdered; murdering play \ˈmər-d(ə-)riŋ\
transitive verb
1 :to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice
2 :to slaughter wantonly :slay
3 a :to put an end to
c :mutilate, mangle
  • murders French
d :to defeat badly
intransitive verb
:to commit murder

Examples of murder in a Sentence

  1. He was arrested and accused of murdering his wife.

  2. His wife was found murdered.

  3. a dictator who is responsible for murdering thousands of innocent people

  4. The band murdered that song.

Recent Examples of murder from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of murder

Synonym Discussion of murder

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


MURDER Defined for English Language Learners

murder

play
noun

Definition of murder for English Language Learners

  • : the crime of deliberately killing a person

  • : something that is very difficult or unpleasant


murder

verb

Definition of murder for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

murder

play
noun mur·der \ ˈmər-dər \

Definition of murder for Students

:the intentional and unlawful killing of a human being

2

murder

verb

Definition of murder for Students

murdered; murdering
1 :to kill (someone) intentionally and unlawfully
2 :to spoil or ruin by performing or using badly
  • murder a song

murderer

noun

Law Dictionary

1

murder

play
noun mur·der \ ˈmər-dər \

legal Definition of murder

: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

Origin and Etymology of murder

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


2

murder

transitive verb

legal Definition of murder

:to kill (a human being) unlawfully and under circumstances constituting murder
intransitive verb
:to commit murder


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