Synonym Chooser

How is the word assassinate distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of assassinate are dispatch, execute, kill, murder, and slay. While all these words mean "to deprive of life," assassinate applies to deliberate killing openly or secretly often for political motives.

terrorists assassinated the Senator

When might dispatch be a better fit than assassinate?

The words dispatch and assassinate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dispatch stresses quickness and directness in putting to death.

dispatched the sentry with one bullet

When can execute be used instead of assassinate?

Although the words execute and assassinate have much in common, execute stresses putting to death as a legal penalty.

executed by lethal gas

When would kill be a good substitute for assassinate?

The meanings of kill and assassinate largely overlap; however, kill merely states the fact of death caused by an agency in any manner.

killed in an accident
frost killed the plants

When is murder a more appropriate choice than assassinate?

The synonyms murder and assassinate are sometimes interchangeable, but murder specifically implies stealth and motive and premeditation and therefore full moral responsibility.

convicted of murdering a rival

When could slay be used to replace assassinate?

The words slay and assassinate can be used in similar contexts, but slay is a chiefly literary term implying deliberateness and violence but not necessarily motive.

slew thousands of the Philistines

Thesaurus Entries Near assassinate

Cite this Entry

“Assassinate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

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