There are 2 definitions of kill in English:


Line breaks: kill
Pronunciation: /kɪl


[with object]
  • 1Cause the death of (a person, animal, or other living thing): her father was killed in a car crash [no object]: a robber armed with a shotgun who kills in cold blood
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    • Fish farmers are licensed to kill predators that threaten their nets, pens and fish.
    • He paid tribute to the two soldiers killed in the crash.
    • Hamlet is able to avenge his father's death by killing his uncle.
    murder, cause the death of, take/end the life of, do away with, make away with, assassinate, do to death, eliminate, terminate, dispatch, finish off, put to death, execute; slaughter, butcher, massacre, wipe out, destroy, annihilate, erase, eradicate, exterminate, extirpate, decimate, mow down, shoot down, cut down, cut to pieces; put down, put to sleep
    informal bump off, polish off, do in, do for, knock off, top, take out, croak, stiff, blow away, liquidate, dispose of
    North American informal ice, off, rub out, waste, whack, scrag, smoke
    literary slay
  • 1.1 (kill someone/thing off) Get rid of or destroy completely, especially in large numbers: there is every possibility all river life would be killed off for generations
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    • It showed the disease was still prevalent in the run-up to autumn and had not been killed off by recent warm weather, he said.
    • The old Mini was effectively killed off in 1999 by safety and emissions regulations.
    • The brave little boy went through six weeks of radiotherapy then another six months of chemotherapy before the cancer was finally killed off.
  • 1.2 (kill someone off) (Of a writer) bring about the ‘death’ of a fictional character.
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    • I'm not thinking about whether I would go back but my character was not killed off, she just left, like most people, in a black cab.
    • TV detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse, played by John Thaw, was killed off last Wednesday.
    • Creator David Chase reportedly considered killing Livia off and ending the series.
  • 1.3 [no object] (kill out) (Of an animal) yield (a specified amount of meat) when slaughtered: the lambs kill out at 20 kg deadweight
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    • Concerns have also been raised on poor conformation scores for animals killing out with carcass weights under 300 kg.
    • Now that the weight limit has been lifted, there is an interesting technical advantage to be gained for those big continental cows that may kill out at over 50 pc.
    • ‘The first scheme, which rewards the breeders of cattle killing out as certain grades, would be administratively very straightforward,’ Mr Kehoe said.
  • 4Pass (time, or a specified amount of it), typically while waiting for a particular event: when he reached the station he found he actually had an hour to kill
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    • Knowing that I have several hours to kill on my own and that no-one will likely pop round makes me incredibly anxious.
    • This sometimes-excruciating process usually kills a half-day, and this visit was no exception.
    • That was enough to kill a good few hours in the afternoon.
    while away, use up, fill up, fill in, fill, occupy, beguile, pass, spend, expend; fritter away, waste


[usually in singular] Back to top  
  • 1An act of killing, especially of one animal by another: a lion has made a kill
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    • Had he taken the time to do this before, he would easily have made a kill during his journey that day, as the valley was rich with wildlife.
    • The sport itself is not in the kill, but in the chase.
    • But many hunts say there are enough options within the law to allow foxes, hares and deer to be legally chased by hounds, though guns may be used for the kill.
    death blow, killing, act of killing, dispatch; conclusion, ending, finish, end, climax; French coup de grâce
  • 1.1An animal or animals killed: the vulture is able to survey the land and locate a fresh kill
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    • Given a continuing rise in the kill over the past two weeks, parity with the weekly kill in 2004 will be reached by the middle of this month.
    • This was how he had learned to be able to keep a kill for himself.
    • Then the kill is cut up and divided among members of the boat clan, as well as the sail-makers and boatbuilders.
  • 1.2 informal An act of destroying or disabling an enemy aircraft, submarine, etc.: the engagement resulted in fifty-one tank kills
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    • There seems to be at least one confirmed kill of an enemy plane with such a rifle.
    • The Submarine Service could have had a kill on the first day of the war but the torpedo went underneath a German ship.
    • Three of the aircraft that scored MiG kills were older Mirages.


be in at the kill

Be present at or benefit from the successful conclusion of an enterprise.
More example sentences
  • He's courageous, fast, tireless and certainly not squeamish about being in at the kill.
  • In that event, it seems quite possible the French jackal will be in at the kill as well.

go (or move in or close in) for the kill

Take ruthless or decisive action to turn a situation to one’s advantage.
More example sentences
  • As Watson went in for the kill, a desperate Eubank caught him with a right hand and took the ascendancy.
  • During the seventh inning stretch, we went for the kill.
  • So how should India go for the kill in this match?

if it kills one

informal Whatever the problems or difficulties involved: we are going to smile and be pleasant if it kills us
More example sentences
  • I suspect the best solution to weight gain is not another miracle diet but more exercise, even if it kills you.
  • We're going to do our darnedest to enjoy it though, even if it kills us!.
  • In 48 hours I'll be on a plane… so unprepared for this trip, but it's going to happen and I'm going to relax and have a good time, even if it kills me.

kill oneself laughing

informal , chiefly British Be overcome with laughter.
More example sentences
  • The schedulers must have been killing themselves laughing when they thought of that little wheeze.
  • When I first did a read-through round at John's house, we had to keep stopping because I was just killing myself laughing.
  • Within minutes I was killing myself laughing at her description of the self - congratulatory bigwigs of the media set.

kill or cure

British (Of a remedy for a problem) likely to either work well or fail catastrophically, with no possibility of partial success: the spring Budget will be kill or cure
More example sentences
  • Then, after a greasy breakfast that was definitely kill or cure, we were into the jet boat and speeding up the river.
  • It is kill or cure both for the NHS and for the Government's reputation.
  • It is a radical, kill or cure treatment - both for the NHS and for Labour's electoral chances.

kill two birds with one stone

proverb Achieve two aims at once.
More example sentences
  • Since this dovetails neatly with the office Christmas party, well, I figure killing two birds with one stone would do the job nicely.
  • His father-in-law had been trying unsuccessfully to sell a dilapidated house in Ilkley and the couple decided to buy it for themselves, killing two birds with one stone.
  • For the polling station at Great Langton, near Northallerton, was in the bar of the village pub, offering ample opportunity for killing two birds with one stone.

kill someone with (or by) kindness

Spoil someone by overindulging them.
More example sentences
  • One good way to deal with all your enemies, including pests like this guy, is to kill them with kindness.
  • ‘When they realised I was really a reporter and not a spy they killed me with kindness, really,’ she said.
  • At that point I figured I had two choices; either say something sarcastic and toss my hair and storm out of the cooler, or kill her with kindness.


Middle English (in the sense 'strike, beat', also 'put to death'): probably of Germanic origin and related to quell. The noun originally denoted a stroke or blow.

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Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skōSH
a small amount; a little

There are 2 definitions of kill in English:


Syllabification: kill

Entry from US English dictionary


  • (In place names, especially in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) a stream, creek, or tributary: Kill Van Kull


mid 17th century: from Dutch kil, from Middle Dutch kille 'riverbed, channel'.

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