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
c : mutilate, mangle murders French
d : to defeat badly

intransitive verb

: to commit murder

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Synonyms & Antonyms for murder

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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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 The teen is charged with first-degree murder while armed in the July 4 fatal shooting of Antonio Gardiner, 36, of Oxon Hill. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, "14-year-old charged in July 4 shooting death was on court supervision," 4 Aug. 2020 The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder. Fox News, "Minnesota lawmaker speaks out on BLM protesters at his home, decries 'loud profane mob'," 4 Aug. 2020 Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. Abigail Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle, "Police body cam footage has leaked showing more details from George Floyd's fatal arrest," 4 Aug. 2020 The three other officers involved in Floyd's death -- Kueng, Lane and Tou Thao -- were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Brad Parks, CNN, "Leaked police bodycam video shows new details of George Floyd's fatal arrest," 3 Aug. 2020 He has been charged with first-degree murder, and remains in custody without bond. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "After Being Stabbed and Run Over, Dying Nurse Identifies Estranged Husband as Alleged Attacker," 30 July 2020 Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. USA TODAY, "Former Minneapolis police officer who held George Floyd's legs wants case dismissed," 9 July 2020 Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. Amy Forliti, Anchorage Daily News, "Officer to a pleading Floyd: ‘It takes ... a lot of oxygen to talk’," 8 July 2020 Two police officers from a small southern Oklahoma town have been charged with second-degree murder after being accused of using their stun guns more than 50 times on a 28-year-old man who died. CBS News, "Two officers who allegedly used stun guns on man dozens of times charged with murder," 3 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Glenn Summerford, a Pentecostal minister, was accused of attempting to murder his wife with a rattlesnake. Will Thorne, chicagotribune.com, "Issa Rae to produce HBO documentary on history of black television," 5 Aug. 2020 Most provinces and territories have death review committees that study domestic violence that escalates to murder. Sarah Boesveld, refinery29.com, "Why Do Canadian Women Keep Dying At The Hands Of Their Partners?," 30 July 2020 Two others, both close aides to Crown Prince Mohammed were indicted on incitement to murder with monstrous intent and inflicting grave torment. Carlotta Gall, BostonGlobe.com, "Trial of 20 Saudis in Khashoggi Killing Opens in Turkey," 3 July 2020 According to the news release, both face a charge of assault with intent to murder, a life felony, as well as other gun charges. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "3 arraigned in Pontiac as city fights urban gun crime," 2 July 2020 Critics of the transit agency’s police department invoked him last week, angered after Board Director Debora Allen defended the department by saying that BART police don’t murder people. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Defunding police: BART to shift $2 million from police to ambassadors," 19 June 2020 Each affirmed not only the Gothic attack but an iron rule of history: never murder a people more literate than you. The Economist, "Goths v Romans A brilliant Goth’s-eye view of the sack of Rome," 20 June 2020 Sure enough, there were intense political arguments over the washing-up roster and ethical debates over how and whether to murder the terrier-sized rats that kept rooting around the bins. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020 Alam is charged assault with intent to murder and malicious destruction of property. Emma Dale, Detroit Free Press, "Man returns to Macomb Twp. bar after getting kicked out, fires shots at building," 17 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for murder

Time Traveler

The first known use of murder was before the 12th century

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Statistics for murder

Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Murder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/murder. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for murder

murder

noun
How to pronounce murder (audio)

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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