Share this entry

infanticide Line breaks: in¦fanti|cide
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈfantɪsʌɪd/

Definition of infanticide in English:


1 [mass noun] The crime of a mother killing her child within a year of birth: cases of infanticide often involve extreme emotional disturbance
More example sentences
  • There are several offences of unlawful homicide: murder, manslaughter, infanticide and causing death by dangerous driving.
  • Cases now treated as infanticide often involve extreme emotional disturbance, as do mercy killings, suicide pacts, and cases of duress.
  • One deals with the postpartum depression defense for a mother accused of infanticide.
1.1The practice in some societies of killing unwanted children soon after birth: female infanticide was practised to reduce the population in times of famine
More example sentences
  • The practice of female infanticide started 50 years ago when a dam was constructed in the area and the village was divided into the well-irrigated and the arid zones leading to a great deal of economic inequality, says Johnson.
  • Sometimes the check is the natural one of famine and plague; in other societies, systematic infanticide is practiced.
  • But, in a country where female infanticide is practised and baby girls abandoned in dustbins, women chief ministers in five States is, nonetheless, remarkable.
2A person who kills an infant, especially their own child.
Example sentences
  • The Euripidean portrait of Medea as an infanticide had roots in the folkloric paradigm of the child-killing demon.
  • Saturn Devouring One of His Sons depicts the graphic and bloody dismemberment of a cannibalistic infanticide.
  • Frenchwomen Ask Clemency for an Infanticide.


Mid 17th century: via French from late Latin infanticidium, from Latin infant- (see infant) + -cidium (see -cide).



Pronunciation: /ɪnfantɪˈsʌɪd(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • In early state societies, child-rearing was predominantly infanticidal.
  • He famously failed to defend the infanticidal Minnie Dean, the first and last woman to be hanged in New Zealand.
  • Nor does Harris spend any time pondering, for instance, the infanticidal teachings of prominent philosophers and ethicists (such as Princeton's Peter Singer) who share Harris’ ‘rational’ utilitarian perspective.

Words that rhyme with infanticide

uxoricide • countryside

Definition of infanticide in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly