vic·​tim | \ ˈvik-təm How to pronounce victim (audio) \

Definition of victim

1 : one that is acted on and usually adversely affected by a force or agent the schools are victims of the social system : such as
a(1) : one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions a victim of cancer a victim of the auto crash a murder victim
(2) : one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment a frequent victim of political attacks
b : one that is tricked or duped a con man's victim
2 : a living being sacrificed to a deity or in the performance of a religious rite

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Other Words from victim

victimhood \ ˈvik-​təm-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce victimhood (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for victim


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Examples of victim in a Sentence

the victims of a hoax He was the victim of an error.
Recent Examples on the Web Engaging in an extra-marital affair is not justification for the defendant taking the law into his own hands and shooting his victims. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Katy love-triangle killer pleads guilty, sentenced to 16 years in prison," 10 Jan. 2020 An unknown horror seems to stalk its victims from without but also from within. Lauren Christensen, New York Times, "‘The Outsider’ Brings a Faceless Terror, and Stephen King, to HBO," 9 Jan. 2020 Both the Red Cross and Salvation Army are also fundraising to provide aid, housing, and more to fire victims, though in both cases, your donation will go into their general disaster relief fund, rather than be earmarked just for the bushfires. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "What You Can Do to Help During the Australia Bushfires," 6 Jan. 2020 At the news that Celia, who joined a nursing order, has been crucified by natives while caring for plague victims, an image of Erin as Celia appears onscreen, transforming from a beatific saint on the cross into a rotting corpse. David Gordon, Harper's magazine, "The Forty-Year Rehearsal," 6 Jan. 2020 There were 18 victims in all, including nine people who were shot. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "3 charged in violent October spree that left 2 dead, more than a dozen wounded," 3 Jan. 2020 In a study of doctors who had treated bomb victims, 1 in 4 were diagnosed with PTSD. Elizabeth Métraux, STAT, "Health care providers are unrecognized victims of mass killings. We’re doing little to support them," 3 Jan. 2020 Those restrictions were put into place after Bowen tried to contact one of his victims. Carol Robinson |, al, "Disgraced Alabama evangelist tried to contact young sex abuse victims from jail, prosecutors say," 2 Jan. 2020 Many of the deaths involve a combination of fentanyl and cocaine found in victims who either knowingly or unknowingly ingested both drugs, Domagalski said. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ten probable overdose deaths have been reported in Milwaukee County in the new year and 2019 will likely set a record," 2 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'victim.' 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 victim

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for victim

Latin victima; perhaps akin to Old High German wīh holy

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Time Traveler for victim

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The first known use of victim was in the 15th century

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Statistics for victim

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Victim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for victim


How to pronounce victim (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of victim

: a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, or killed by someone else
: a person who is cheated or fooled by someone else
: someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event (such as an illness or accident)


vic·​tim | \ ˈvik-təm How to pronounce victim (audio) \

Kids Definition of victim

1 : a person who is cheated, fooled, or hurt by another
2 : an individual injured or killed (as by disease, violence, or disaster)
3 : a person or animal offered as a religious sacrifice

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