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 murder (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 Most Americans know the story of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. CBS News, "Biggest factor in U.S.-Middle East relations is perception that U.S. is withdrawing," 6 Jan. 2021 Veracruz state authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least 11 people allegedly involved in the murder and arrested six of the suspects in the weeks following. Wired Staff, Wired, "One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack," 5 Jan. 2021 Marat/Sade imagines one such performance in 1808, in which the patients act out the murder of the radical Jacobin Marat, which had taken place fifteen years earlier at the height of the French Revolution. Adam Kirsch, The New York Review of Books, "The People’s Novel," 5 Jan. 2021 Mary Mary, investigate the murder of Mr. Humpty Stuyvesant Von Dumpty III. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "The Fast Forward 2020 Winter Bookies reading list," 4 Jan. 2021 The film investigates the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who lived in America and wrote for the Washington Post before being captured, killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Turkey by a hit team. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Filmmaker tracks the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in ‘The Dissident’," 4 Jan. 2021 An Army soldier and a 16-year-old boy have been charged in the murder of Hayden Harris, a corporal at Fort Drum, New York who was found dead in New Jersey. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Soldier, 16-year-old charged in death of Fort Drum corporal found shot, buried under snow," 2 Jan. 2021 Courthouse closures linked to COVID-19 precautions have delayed the sentencing hearings of three of four defendants convicted in the murder of 16-year-old David Grunwald four years ago. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "COVID-19 precautions delay sentencing of final 3 defendants for murder of Palmer teen," 31 Dec. 2020 Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Jeffrey Blehar, Washington Examiner, "The broken power broker," 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Christopher McKinney, 29, of Madison Heights, faces several charges related to the Dec. 11 incident, including assault with intent to murder and obstructing and resisting a police officer, according to Oakland County jail records. Fox News, "Michigan man stabs parents after asked to turn off video game, stepdad dies," 18 Dec. 2020 The suspect, Gustavo Rojas Salgado, pleaded not guilty Monday to murder in the death of Victor Saul Garcia, 33, of El Cajon. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Prosecutor: Victim in El Cajon slaying stabbed 101 times," 7 Dec. 2020 Naturally this gets sorted out in a savage pay-per-view MMA fight between father and son, in which the father radiates his willingness to murder his son in a fighting cage while thousands watch. al, "Mobile actor breaks through in ‘Embattled,’ movie filmed in Birmingham," 4 Dec. 2020 At one point, the Abominable Snowmonster tries to murder Rudolph in front of his parents by smashing a giant stalactite on his head. Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic, "The Christmas Special From Hell," 24 Nov. 2020 When not busy trying to murder humans in The Matrix, the AI program known as Agent Smith took time to pontificate on our nature as a species. Matt Simon, Wired, "All the Stuff Humans Make Now Outweighs Earth’s Organisms," 15 Dec. 2020 And three years ago, a visit to India turned into a PR disaster after a reception for the prime minister included a Canadian Sikh convicted of attempting to murder an Indian Sikh politician. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "India Throws a Trudeau Tantrum," 10 Dec. 2020 The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported last year that Florida’s schools are filled with young students threatening to murder their classmates and teachers. Megan O'matz, sun-sentinel.com, "Grand jury: Florida’s mental health care system ‘a mess’," 10 Dec. 2020 This documentary explores the 1991 story of Glenn Summerford, a Pentecostal minister who was accused of attempting to murder his wife with a rattlesnake. Washington Post, "What to watch on Wednesday: ‘The Surgeon’s Cut’ on Netflix," 9 Dec. 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

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Murder.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/murder. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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