vic·​tim | \ ˈvik-təm How to pronounce victim (audio) \

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

Other Words from victim

victimhood \ ˈvik-​təm-​ˌhu̇d How to pronounce victim (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for victim


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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 In lieu of that ability, the filmmakers have given her full agency and expression in a portrait that never treats her as a victim or a martyr. Guy Lodge, Variety, 28 Nov. 2021 Upon arrival the officers found one male victim suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. Kaitlin Lewis, The Enquirer, 28 Nov. 2021 Nest’s bitter, twisted antagonist Nurse Ratched, portraying her as a victim of child abuse. Amelia Tait, Wired, 27 Nov. 2021 Gregory McMichael's attorney Laura Hogue claimed that Ahmaud Arbery was no innocent victim. CBS News, 27 Nov. 2021 The child and another male shooting victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries, while a man was in critical condition due to gunshot wounds as of Saturday afternoon, police said. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 27 Nov. 2021 Their first victim was a 55-year-old in a supermarket parking lot in Wheaton, Maryland, on October 2, 2002. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 26 Nov. 2021 Five people were pronounced dead on the scene while a sixth victim, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, died days later in an area hospital. al, 25 Nov. 2021 The problem is Christine has neither the gravitas nor strength to be a believable villain or a victim. Morgan Jerkins, Time, 24 Nov. 2021

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

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Victim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for victim



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 How to pronounce victim (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on victim

Nglish: Translation of victim for Spanish Speakers

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


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