Definition of murder in English:


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  • 1The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

    ‘the stabbing murder of an off-Broadway producer’
    • ‘he was put on trial for attempted murder’
    • ‘What if all the cities in the US were wracked by a crime wave, with thousands of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in every major city every year?’
    • ‘I got so tired of watching the news because of all the kidnappings and rapes and murders and theft that filled that channel and I wanted to help put an end to it.’
    • ‘An epidemic of criminal activities, murders, revenge killings and gang turf battles has resulted.’
    • ‘From muggings to murders, recent crime patterns show citizens returning home from office or an outing late in the night have become soft targets of the men on prowl.’
    • ‘Murders and attempted murders of state officials became almost routine, preoccupying and slowing down state administrators and inviting reprisals or, at least, harsh policies.’
    • ‘I must emphasise we need to question this man regarding the murder and two attempted murders of police officers in Leeds.’
    • ‘Its members are unsurpassed at stopping murders, rapes, robberies, burglaries and other violent crimes.’
    • ‘We have laws on murder, but, tragically, we still have murders and killings in this country.’
    • ‘While its initial remit was to take on drug gangs, the agency now deals with all forms of major organised crime, helping investigate murders, kidnappings, extortion and robbery.’
    • ‘The country has the highest number of murders, rapes, hijackings and violent robberies in the world.’
    • ‘Where crime is concerned there is a lot of talk about who the criminals are, and where they live, and what is going to be done to reduce the kidnappings, murders and other criminal activities.’
    • ‘By the end of the year there were 129 killings, murders, assassinations, crossfire victims, accidents and unexplained deaths.’
    • ‘Speaking of murder, remember that not all homicides are murders and that murder carries a specific legal meaning.’
    • ‘Those guns would have been destined to be used in murders, robberies or kidnappings.’
    • ‘However, we are not to be forgotten; our voice will be heard as we speak out against the horrendous rapes, kidnappings and murders polluting our paradise.’
    • ‘Among them were 646 cases of physical assault resulting in injury, and eight attempted murders but no actual murders.’
    • ‘Since last June there have been 45 assassinations, 37 kidnappings and nine attempted murders, according to the report.’
    • ‘They were involved in numerous murders, assaults, rapes and robberies and if you crossed their path you were unlikely to emerge without a few broken bones.’
    • ‘They argue that even if all those on death row were to be hanged, the killings and murders would still continue, and may very well increase despite the hangings.’
    • ‘The ring specialised in contract murders, abductions, explosions, racketeering and other terrorist activities.’
    killing, homicide, assassination, liquidation, extermination, execution, slaughter, butchery, massacre
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    1. 1.1 informal A very difficult or unpleasant task or experience.
      • ‘my first job at the steel mill was murder’
      hell, hell on earth, a nightmare, an ordeal, a trial, a difficult experience, a frustrating experience, a unpleasant experience, misery, torture, agony
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transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Kill (someone) unlawfully and with premeditation.

    ‘somebody tried to murder Joe’
    • ‘Judy thought about if someone had murdered the person who killed her family.’
    • ‘But to this day they too will never know why a seemingly loving husband murdered his wife before killing himself.’
    • ‘Within weeks, around 500,000 people were brutally murdered or killed in action, mostly by the Hutu army.’
    • ‘He killed and murdered a dozen women the police know of and twenty others we know of.’
    • ‘Because she was so badly decomposed, police have been unable to tell if she was murdered or killed herself.’
    • ‘A cheating husband accused of murdering his wife and children 27 years ago told a jury yesterday: ‘I miss them to this day.’’
    • ‘The former lover of a pensioner accused of murdering his wife and children 27 years ago said she did not give police vital information because she couldn't believe he would harm anyone.’
    • ‘In 2001, a further 43 people were murdered, 32 kidnapped and 219 assaulted.’
    • ‘A mother has spoken out against gun crime after seeing the man accused of murdering her son walk free from court.’
    • ‘Police believe the victim may not have even seen the assassin who murdered him with a single shot to the back.’
    • ‘He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder persons unknown and to possession of weapons and ammunition.’
    • ‘Scientific tests on stains found in the bathroom at the home of a drug addict accused of murdering a pensioner, gave a mixed DNA profile of both the man on trial and the pensioner, a jury heard yesterday.’
    • ‘A young woman in a close ethnic community, who had fallen in love with a Swedish man, was murdered by her father.’
    • ‘He refuses to believe his father has been murdered, instead saying he has probably fled Bradford.’
    • ‘His family believe that a factor in his disappearance could be the upcoming anniversary of the death of his father, who was murdered 15 years ago by an armed robber.’
    • ‘Generally, we hold that there's no crime worse than murder, and we punish it more harshly than we do anything else.’
    • ‘I want the people who calculatingly and brutally murder others to pay severely for their heinous crimes.’
    • ‘My mother, sister, and other brother had perished of malnutrition, starvation, and illness, and my father had been murdered.’
    • ‘My father was kidnapped and murdered last year.’
    • ‘This confrontation could increase the probability of him becoming angry and murdering or assaulting her.’
    kill, do to death, put to death, assassinate, execute, liquidate, eliminate, neutralize, dispatch, butcher, cut to pieces, slaughter, massacre, wipe out, mow down
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    1. 1.1 informal Punish severely or be very angry with.
      • ‘my father will murder me if I'm home late’
      penalize, discipline, mete out punishment to, bring someone to book, teach someone a lesson, make an example of
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    2. 1.2 informal Conclusively defeat (an opponent) in a game or sport.
      • ‘You might decide to keep an extra righthanded bat to come off the bench and face him in the ninth because he murders lefties who pinch hit against him.’
      • ‘England are getting murdered at the moment… absolutely slaughtered.’
      • ‘We had an amazing year, we absolutely murdered everybody and won the league at a canter.’
      • ‘Ukraine are absolutely murdering Saudi Arabia, who aren't getting a look-in.’
      • ‘Juventus are murdering them in this second half and the home side are making it easy for them.’
      • ‘He said: ‘We should have murdered them on paper, but fortunately we haven't suffered in the longer term.’’
      • ‘England are getting murdered in the cricket, by the way.’
      • ‘Mind you, nearly everyone got murdered on that tour.’
      beat, conquer, win against, win a victory over, triumph over, prevail over, get the better of, best, worst, vanquish
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    3. 1.3Spoil by lack of skill or knowledge.
      ‘the only thing he had murdered was the English language’
      • ‘But Portofino still lacked its very own song: one that could be murdered nightly in those dolce vita bars and restaurants.’
      • ‘They'd have been better off giving it to the cook not to murder the cuisines of countries that have already suffered so much.’
      • ‘The great outdoors murders a fine wine's bouquet and strong-tasting barbecue fare ruins the restrained, delicate flavours of expensive bottles.’
      spoil, ruin, mar, mutilate, mangle, cut about, mess up, make a mess of, wreck
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    get away with murder
    • Succeed in doing whatever one chooses without being punished or suffering any disadvantage.

      • ‘some local authorities are letting real estate agents get away with murder’
      • ‘People got away with murder in this country, 2000 murders to be exact.’
      • ‘Developers up to now got away with murder and only provided the minimum facilities when they were developing new housing estates.’
      • ‘Like many other people, I believe the banks got away with murder in the past and abused the power they had over the day-today lives of ordinary, decent and hardworking people.’
      • ‘He said: ‘Mobile phone operators are getting away with murder because the planning legislation simply is not strict enough.’’
      • ‘A lot of fear is being generated and, at the same time, the banks are getting away with murder.’
      • ‘Since the business started, record companies have been getting away with murder.’
      • ‘He said the council are getting away with murder when it comes to the roads in the area.’
      • ‘He is going after the people who will never drive on fly-overs and never harm anybody while the joyriders are getting away with blue murder.’
      • ‘How can any ordinary citizens respect it if the mafia literally gets away with murder, violence, theft and extortion time and time again?’
      • ‘The question I want to put to local people is do you want these individuals walking the streets where you and your family live, do you want them to think they can get away with murder?’
    murder one
    North American informal
    • First-degree murder.

      • ‘But the jury must come back - in order for it to get to that phase, the jury must come back with a guilty verdict on felony murder or murder one.’
      • ‘They took him to the hospital were they were arrested on site for murder one and armed robbery.’
      • ‘Second degree murder is an intentional, not quite murder one with malice and all that stuff, but it is an act that is deliberate.’
      • ‘But it - as all murders, as I understand it, are consider murder two, unless they're upgraded to murder one.’
      • ‘So there's not a murder two or something that we could have switched to.’
      • ‘So that would qualify as murder one, if that's a scenario.’
      • ‘The Crown attorney's reasoning for only charging him with manslaughter was that the he's still a young boy, and the judge wouldn't give him murder one.’
    murder two
    North American informal
    • Second-degree murder.

    murder will out
    • Murder cannot remain undetected.

      • ‘The portrait, the idea, Dostoyevsky wants us to take from this book is that even if you can rationalize your own fears away about committing a horrible act like this, even if you can be swayed by every possible slick sophistry, murder will out.’
    scream bloody murder
    • Make an extravagant and noisy protest.

      • ‘she had tripped and was screaming bloody murder’


Old English morthor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch moord and German Mord, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit mará ‘death’ and Latin mors; reinforced in Middle English by Old French murdre.