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

So where does the show go after Marina’s murder — why make a disappearance the center of it instead of continuing with Marina’s story line? Kerensa Cadenas, EW.com, "How the Elite showrunners ‘root for’ but ‘plot for new ways to ruin’ the characters in season 2," 6 Sep. 2019 Jeffrey Deskovic was just 16 years old when he was arrested for the 1989 rape and murder of his classmate Angela Correa in Westchester County, New York. NBC News, "Leading expert explains why you would falsely confess to a crime you did not commit," 6 Sep. 2019 In June, four people, including a prominent separatist commander, were charged in the Netherlands with murder over the plane’s downing. Washington Post, "Key witness in MH17 downing released from jail in Ukraine," 6 Sep. 2019 Becton’s former second-in-command, Phyllis Redmond, left the office earlier this year and recently publicly criticized its handling of a 1980s murder defendant who was recently freed through a plea deal. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Longtime prosecutor files political retaliation complaint against Contra Costa DA," 6 Sep. 2019 Angel Has Fallen, a third installment of Gerard Butler playing out All-American murder fantasies, is over two hours long, unlike its predecessors. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Rise of the Super Sequel! As ‘It: Chapter Two’ Hits Theaters, Why Are Blockbusters Getting So Long?," 6 Sep. 2019 Not deterrence, in the face of studies that show no positive correlation between the death penalty and murder rates. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Witnessing a Federal Execution," 4 Sep. 2019 There had been several documentaries about her husband’s murder, but never a play. Alex Marshall, New York Times, "A Murdered Spy’s Widow Relives Her Loss Onstage," 4 Sep. 2019 All that fodder fed into a 10-page script for a short film about a constable in neo-Victorian London visiting a faerie brothel where a murder has taken place. Jennifer Ouellette, Wired, "Carnival Row brings a Richly Textured Fantasy World to Life," 4 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This prompted her father, T Maruthi Rao, to hire assassins to murder the husband, court records show, the Post reported. Fox News, "Indian father ordered hitman to kill son-in-law for belonging to 'untouchable' caste: courts docs," 21 Aug. 2019 Netanyahu spoke at the Babi Yar site, a patchwork of ravines on the margins of the Ukrainian capital where Ukrainian auxiliary police took about 33,000 Jews to be murdered by German soldiers on Sept. 29 and 30, 1941. Cnaan Liphshiz, sun-sentinel.com, "Netanyahu wades into the debate on Ukraine’s Holocaust record in commemoration speech," 20 Aug. 2019 Deputies say the 11-year-old was afraid his mother was going to be murdered, so the child used scissors to stab Karamanlis twice in the back protect her. Ricky Pinela, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida child used scissors to stab man for assaulting mother: report," 19 Aug. 2019 One way to silence speech is to murder the speaker. The Economist, "The global gag on free speech is tightening," 15 Aug. 2019 But on the ground, nobody ever seemed to consider the likelihood that games had driven Lanza to murder. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Video-Game Violence Is Now a Partisan Issue," 5 Aug. 2019 Santos’s relatives were among more than 1,500 people across 50 countries to be murdered in retaliation for protecting land, water, forests and other natural resources between 2002 and 2017. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Environmental Activists Have Higher Death Rates Than Some Soldiers," 5 Aug. 2019 In its sequel, The Dragon Republic, Rin is now on the run and seeking to murder the Empress who betrayed her country, while struggling with her addiction to opium and the commands of the Phoenix, a god who has incredible powers. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "10 new science fiction and fantasy novels to check out this August," 1 Aug. 2019 Or to lure him to Memphis, Tennessee, and murder him there. CBS News, "Lorenzen Wright death: Surprise plea deal latest twist in the case of slain NBA star," 27 July 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

9 Sep 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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