Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[kil-er] /ˈkɪl ər/
a person or thing that kills.
a device used by a post office for printing cancellations on postage stamps.
a mark of cancellation made on a postage stamp.
Slang. something or someone having a formidable impact, devastating effect, etc.:
The math test was a real killer.
adjective, Slang.
severe; powerful:
a killer cold.
very difficult or demanding:
a killer chess tournament.
highly effective; superior:
a killer recipe for fried chicken.
Origin of killer
First recorded in 1525-35; kill1 + -er1
Related forms
self-killer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for killer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And that minute he turned me from a scared kid into an outlaw—a killer.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • In this nice, well-ordered age I'm a killer and everybody knows it.

    Measure for a Loner James Judson Harmon
  • He had come from Trinidad, Colorado, and brought with him the reputation of a killer.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • What do you reckon a killer like Overstreet cares for the law?

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • Lad, even a kid like you could be a killer with that six-gun.

    Riders of the Silences

    John Frederick
British Dictionary definitions for killer


  1. a person or animal that kills, esp habitually
  2. (as modifier): a killer shark
something, esp a task or activity, that is particularly taxing or exhausting
(Austral & NZ) an animal selected to be slaughtered for food
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for killer

late 15c., agent noun from kill (v.). But a surname, Ric[hard] Le Kyller is attested from 1288. Figurative use from 1550s. Meaning "impressive person or thing" is by 1900 (as an adjective, 1979); reduplicated form killer-diller attested by 1938. Killer whale is from 1725; killer instinct is attested from 1931, originally in boxing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for killer



(also killer-diller): not only was it a killer version/ The killer idea of the century is about to be laid on you (1970s+)


  1. A very attractive person: Ain't she a killer? (1937+)
  2. also killer-diller) A person or thing that is remarkable, wonderful, superior, etc; beaut, doozie: The song's a killer!/ The famed quartet steams out ''killer-dillers'' (1930s+)
  3. A marijuana cigarette; joint (1940s+ Narcotics)

Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for killer

Word Value for killer

Scrabble Words With Friends