Definition of murder in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈməːdə/


1The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another: the brutal murder of a German holidaymaker [mass noun]: he was put on trial for attempted murder
More example sentences
  • 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.
killing, homicide, assassination, liquidation, extermination, execution, slaughter, butchery, massacre;
patricide, matricide, parricide, fratricide, sororicide, filicide, infanticide, uxoricide, regicide
literary slaying
2 [mass noun] informal A very difficult or unpleasant task or experience: the 40-mile-per-hour winds at the summit were murder
hell, hell on earth, a nightmare, an ordeal, a trial, a frustrating/unpleasant/difficult experience, misery, torture, agony
3A group of crows: a murder of crows flew past the window
More example sentences
  • She smiles at a small murder of crows, and from one of her many pockets, she tosses them a few chunks of stale bread.
  • The potential for all kinds of damage hovers in the air like a murder of crows waiting to strike.
  • Sidney, an impressive looking Harris hawk, decided he was far more interested in a murder of crows resting in nearby fields than the food on offer in his handler's grasp.


[with object]
1Kill (someone) unlawfully and with premeditation: he was accused of murdering his wife’s lover
More example sentences
  • 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.
kill, put/do to death, assassinate, execute, liquidate, eliminate, neutralize, dispatch, butcher, cut to pieces, slaughter, massacre, wipe out, mow down
informal bump off, do in, do away with, do for, knock off, blow away, blow someone's brains out, stiff, take out, top, croak, give someone the works, dispose of, hit, zap
North American informal ice, rub out, smoke, waste, off, whack, scrag
North American euphemistic terminate with extreme prejudice
literary slay
2 informal Punish severely or be very angry with: my father will murder me if I’m home late
2.1Conclusively defeat (an opponent) in a game or sport.
Example sentences
  • 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.
2.2Spoil by lack of skill or knowledge: the only thing he had murdered was the English language
More example sentences
  • 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.
2.3chiefly British Consume (food or drink) greedily or with relish: I could murder some chips
More example sentences
  • I mean you wouldn't say, God I'm famished, I could murder a fruit juice.
  • Sometimes I could murder a slab of chocolate but I don't.
  • I am a cakey kind of person - squishy and sweet and sort of sickly after too much - and I could murder a brownie right about now…



get away with (blue) murder

informal Succeed in doing whatever one chooses without being punished or suffering any disadvantage: some local authorities are letting estate agents get away with murder
More example sentences
  • 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.

murder one (or two)

North American informal First-degree (or second-degree) murder.
Example sentences
  • 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.

murder will out

Murder cannot remain undetected.
Example sentences
  • 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 (or yell) blue (or North American bloody) murder

informal Make an extravagant and noisy protest: if it gets into the papers, she’ll be down here screaming blue murder
More example sentences
  • Her butt was wedged up behind the refrigerator and she was screaming bloody murder.
  • If you are the defense, you're certainly going to be screaming bloody murder if you ever find out about it.
  • The first few times it happened, I screamed blue murder for the nurse, who came and simply opened the clamp, increasing the flow and flushing the blood back into the vein in a wonderfully cold ripply gush.


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.

  • The ancient root of murder is shared by Latin mors ‘death’, from which mortal (Late Middle English) also derives, as do words at mortuary. In his Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer wrote ‘Murder will out’. The idea is older, but his concise way of expressing it ensured that it became proverbial. From the 18th century blue was thought of as the colour of plagues and of harmful things in general, and someone being attacked would cry or scream blue murder to emphasize their plight. The phrase now refers to making a noisy protest.

Words that rhyme with murder

birder, Gerda, girder, herder

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mur¦der

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