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[vik-tim] /ˈvɪk tɪm/
a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency:
a victim of an automobile accident.
a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency:
a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion.
a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed:
war victims.
a living creature sacrificed in religious rites.
Origin of victim
First recorded in 1490-1500, victim is from the Latin word victima sacrificial animal
Related forms
victimhood, noun
victimless, adjective
nonvictim, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for victim
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was not naturally bad, but he had fallen a victim to sudden temptation.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Major John Postell had been pitched upon as the first victim.

  • He had been defied, trapped, made a victim of the gang who had killed his most valued informer.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Between him and her as the victim of the law, there could be no hesitation for choice.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • "You'll have to cut down your victim before I get there," grinned Chip.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for victim


a person or thing that suffers harm, death, etc, from another or from some adverse act, circumstance, etc: victims of tyranny
a person who is tricked or swindled; dupe
a living person or animal sacrificed in a religious rite
Usage note
Using the word victim or victims in relation to chronic illness or disability is often considered demeaning and disempowering. Alternative phrases such as who experiences, who has been diagnosed with, or simply with and then the name of the disability or illness, can be used instead
Word Origin
C15: from Latin victima
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
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Word Origin and History for victim

late 15c., "living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power," from Latin victima "person or animal killed as a sacrifice." Perhaps distantly connected to Old English wig "idol," Gothic weihs "holy," German weihen "consecrate" (cf. Weihnachten "Christmas") on notion of "a consecrated animal." Sense of "person who is hurt, tortured, or killed by another" is first recorded 1650s; meaning "person oppressed by some power or situation" is from 1718. Weaker sense of "person taken advantage of" is recorded from 1781.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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