vic·tim | \ ˈvik-təm \

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 \ noun

Synonyms for victim


butt, mark, prey, sitting duck, target

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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

And a federal judge in California said Tuesday that cancer victims and their families could present expert testimony linking the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. NBC News, "Johnson & Johnson talc verdict goes against what is known about cancer," 13 July 2018 The victim and alleged shooter did not know each other, police say A portion of Central Avenue was closed for some time while crews investigated the shooting. charlotteobserver, "Bar employee shot early Wednesday, seriously injured in Plaza Midwood," 11 July 2018 According to police records, Mlodziejewski picked up the victim and two others at her house that night, then drove to Publix to buy food. Susannah Bryan,, "Teen raped in Publix bathroom, police say," 11 July 2018 But the fact that June gets to move effortlessly between the perfect victim and a martyr is the kind of humanity that we have been trained to expect from white women, and white women only., "The Handmaid's Tale Still Has A White Female Privilege Problem," 11 July 2018 Officials said paperwork was signed indicating the victim and his family didn’t want to press charges. Michael Williams,, "Boy, 14, shot in west Orange, deputies say," 10 July 2018 Four suspects accused of pistol-whipping a victim and firing a gun inside of an apartment during a home invasion robbery in June have been arrested by law enforcement, Precinct 4 tweeted. Mayra Cruz, Houston Chronicle, "Police arrest suspects in alleged violent home invasion, Precinct 4 tweets," 10 July 2018 The victim and the suspect, Jose Gardea, 34, had been collaborating on a construction project for a homeowner in the 1200 block of Hobday Road in Wilton before an argument broke out, Sgt. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Hammer assault during home construction project leaves man in critical condition," 9 July 2018 Paramedics responded to the 7100 block of South Chappel Avenue shortly after 5:30 p.m. and took the victim, an adult male, to Jackson Park Hospital, where he will be pronounced dead, said Larry Merritt, a fire department spokesman. Rosemary Sobol,, "Officials: Man dead after police-involved shooting in South Shore," 14 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to victim

fall victim to

fashion victim

victim mentality

Statistics for victim

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for victim

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

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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 \

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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Comments on victim

What made you want to look up victim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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