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


casualty, fatality, loss, prey

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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

At least 15 children were among the victims of the November 2016 assault targeting a kingdom known as Rwenzururu, whose leader for years has been politically opposed to Uganda’s longtime President Yoweri Museveni, according to Human Rights Watch. Rodney Muhumuza, The Seattle Times, "Uganda faces pressure to probe 2016 massacre by military," 27 Nov. 2018 Extended sales AHAlife: Take 25 percent off sitewide with code KARMA—$5 from every purchase will be donated to the California Fire Foundation to benefit victims of wildfire in California. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Best Cyber Monday deals you can still shop," 27 Nov. 2018 Treating the victims of gun violence is often a medically challenging task. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Reasons These Doctors Are So Outspoken About Gun Violence," 14 Nov. 2018 To help victims of the fire, the Ventura County Community Foundation has established the Hill Fire/Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort Fund to support the nonprofit organizations that are currently serving survivors. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "At Least 9 Dead in California’s Most Destructive Wildfire in History," 10 Nov. 2018 Kind of surprising since the Black Hood wasn't really a murderer who hid his victims. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "4 Clues That Prove Chic Is Actually Still Alive On "Riverdale"," 4 Oct. 2018 Most disheartening of all is how almost all the coverage is positioning Ford as a victim rather than as a survivor. Maria Kari, Allure, "Christine Blasey Ford Confronted Her Traumatic Past, Now I’m Confronting Mine," 1 Oct. 2018 The kitchen started as a place where the victims of the Grenfell Tower Fires could prepare fresh food for their families. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Wore a Sleek Black Givenchy Dress For Her First Solo Event," 25 Sep. 2018 But some of the most vulnerable victims of hurricanes are pets. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "How to Protect Your Pet During Hurricane Florence," 11 Sep. 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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Statistics for victim

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on victim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with victim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for victim

Spanish Central: Translation of victim

Nglish: Translation of victim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of victim for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about victim

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).


a nest or breeding place

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