as·​sas·​sin ə-ˈsa-sᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio)
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
: 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 The Kennedy siblings have become divided in the years following their father’s death, though, over the issue of his assassin’s parole. Lynsey Eidell, Peoplemag, 28 Mar. 2024 La Serenissima retorted by sending an assassin to France; two of those workmen mysteriously wound up dead. The Editors, Robb Report, 28 Mar. 2024 Across her four bottom-two performances that earned her the title of season 16's lip-sync assassin, Mhi'ya broke other cardinal rules set forth by Mama RuPaul — including taking her shoes off in a duel against Megami. Joey Nolfi,, 18 Mar. 2024 More expressive and expansive is Booth, a popular actor from a family of actors, and a sad-eyed Boyle plays him, as seems to have been the case with the assassins of history, smaller than life but large in his own reckoning. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2024 Set in contemporary Korea, the eight-part series follows college student Jeong Jian who dives for cover in her childhood home after a series of highly skilled assassins come after her. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 12 Mar. 2024 Congress amended the rule to its current form through the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 in response to the acquittal of President Ronald Reagan’s would-be assassin, John Hinckley Jr. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Mar. 2024 Rathbone tried to subdue Booth, but the assassin attacked him with a knife. Vanessa Armstrong, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Mar. 2024 Addressing the crowd, one fiery speaker praised the assassins as martyrs and their feat as a victory for God. Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assassin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

Dictionary Entries Near assassin

Cite this Entry

“Assassin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


as·​sas·​sin ə-ˈsas-ən How to pronounce assassin (audio)
: a person who kills another person
especially : one who murders a politically important person either for pay or from loyalty to a cause

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