Definition of victim in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvɪktɪm/


1A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action: victims of domestic violence earthquake victims
More example sentences
  • Here is the man who is first to raise money or organise events to help victims of crime or the needy, a man with human compassion.
  • It estimates that one woman in four now suffers as a victim of domestic violence.
  • Tragic mums whose children were victims of gun crime were today gathering at a unique event to tackle armed gangs.
sufferer, injured party, casualty, injured person, wounded person;
dead person, fatality, loss;
1.1A person who is tricked or duped: the victim of a hoax
More example sentences
  • Among the victims he duped were people from Lancashire, Bury and Nottinghamshire.
  • Now fraudsters are applying similar tricks against potential enterprise victims.
  • The latest MyTob email worms have adopted fresh tactics in an attempt to trick victims.
dupe, easy target, easy prey, fair game, sitting target, everybody's fool, stooge, gull, fool, Aunt Sally;
target, prey, quarry, object, subject, recipient, focus
informal sitting duck, sucker, fall guy, pushover, soft touch, easy touch, chump, muggins, charlie
North American informal patsy, pigeon, sap, schlemiel, mark
Australian/New Zealand informal dill
1.2A person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment: I saw myself as a victim [as modifier]: a victim mentality
More example sentences
  • In the real world, the people of Liverpool have no more of a victim mentality than the people of Norwich.
  • Yet we know that even in such utterly abject circumstances, these people were not simply passive victims.
  • But women have never been simply passive victims of either side of this process.
1.3A living creature killed as a religious sacrifice: sacrificial victims for the ritual festivals
More example sentences
  • The captives were then used as sacrificial victims to the gods of the victor; one ritual feeding another.
  • Legend records that at the dedication of the former some 20000 human victims were sacrificed.
  • If not, and if some want to draw lots to choose a sacrificial victim, may they force everyone to join in?
sacrifice, offering, burnt offering, scapegoat


fall victim to

Be hurt, killed, damaged, or destroyed by: he fell victim to a fatal blood infection
More example sentences
  • A mother whose young daughter allegedly fell victim to the abuse condemned the BNP for turning her ordeal into a race issue.
  • A 16-year-old boy was left with a black eye and facial bruising after falling victim to what appears to have been the first reported incident of its kind in the borough.
  • I am concerned that companies are falling victim to online commercial extortion and we are not being told.
fall ill with, be stricken with, become infected with, catch, develop, contract, pick up;
succumb to, be overcome by, be overwhelmed by
informal come/go down with


Late 15th century (denoting a creature killed as a religious sacrifice): from Latin victima.

  • Latin victima, the source of this word, originally meant an animal killed as a religious sacrifice. Use of a person who is harmed by another is mid 17th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vic¦tim

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