as·​sas·​sin | \ ə-ˈsa-sᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio) \

Definition of assassin

1 capitalized : a member of a Shia Muslim sect who at the time of the Crusades was sent out on a suicidal mission to murder prominent enemies
2 : a person who commits murder especially : one who murders a politically important person either for money or from fanatical adherence to a cause

Examples of assassin in a Sentence

John Wilkes Booth was the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. shot down by an unknown assassin
Recent Examples on the Web Moments like that, and the future ones, were lost when a 24-year-old assassin named Sirhan Sirhan took it all away. CBS News, 12 Dec. 2021 He’s not a billionaire, a god, a World War II hero, a Russian assassin or a hulk. NBC News, 24 Nov. 2021 Black a disgraced cop, Spiegel a former assassin for a brutal crime ring known as the Syndicate. Mike Hale, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2021 The evidence included witnesses who couldn’t identify Mr. Islam, implicated other suspects and groups, and described a shotgun-wielding assassin who didn’t match Mr. Islam, the man prosecutors said bore that weapon. Michael R. Sisak And Jennifer Peltz, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Nov. 2021 The evidence included witnesses who couldn't identify Islam, implicated other suspects and groups, and described a shotgun-wielding assassin who didn't match Islam, the man prosecutors said bore that weapon. Arkansas Online, 19 Nov. 2021 For many critics, Spanish and foreign, one of the best new films at San Sebastian, a sober Basque conflict reconciliation drama recounting the meetings with towering performances from Luis Tosar as a repentant ETA assassin and his victim’s widow. John Hopewell, Variety, 20 Oct. 2021 Mary Elizabeth Winstead, portraying a badass assassin. Andy Meek, BGR, 11 Sep. 2021 He was trained as a martial-arts assassin by his father, the villain Fu Manchu, but rebelled against his father's lessons and became a hero. Ale Russian,, 18 Aug. 2021

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

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assassin

Medieval Latin assassinus, from Arabic ḥashshāshīn, plural of ḥashshāsh worthless person, literally, hashish user, from hashīsh hashish

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Time Traveler for assassin

Time Traveler

The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Assassin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for assassin



English Language Learners Definition of assassin

: a person who kills someone (such as a famous or important person) usually for political reasons or for money : a person who assassinates someone


as·​sas·​sin | \ ə-ˈsa-ˌsᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio) \

Kids Definition of assassin

: someone who kills another person usually for pay or from loyalty to a cause

More from Merriam-Webster on assassin

Nglish: Translation of assassin for Spanish Speakers

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


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