[ kil-er ]
/ ˈkɪl ər /
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adjective Slang.
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Origin of killer

First recorded in 1525–35; kill1 + -er1


self-killer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition of killer?

A killer is a person or thing that kills, meaning they end lives. Killer is also used in slang to mean something that is devastating or exhausting. Additionally, killer is used in slang to describe something as severe or powerful. Killer has several other meanings as a noun and an adjective.

A person or thing that ends someone’s life is a killer. In terms of a person, killer is often used interchangeably with murderer. However, killer can refer to someone who killed another person by accident, while murderer is not used in that sense.

In slang, killer is used to describe something as causing stress, exhaustion, pain, or misery.

  • Real-life examples: You might call a particularly hard test a killer test. A killer workout would push your body to the limits of its abilities.
  • Used in a sentence: That history assignment turned out to be a killer and took me forever to finish.

In slang, killer is also used to describe something as severe, intense, or powerful.

  • Real-world examples: You might call a baseball game that goes into extra innings with a 2–2 score, a killer game. If you come down with a severe cold that keeps you in bed for several days, you could call it a killer cold.
  • Used in a sentence: After living abroad for five years, Michelle came down with a killer case of homesickness.

Where does killer come from?

The first records of the noun killer come from around 1525. It is formed from the verb kill, meaning “to end a life,” and the suffix er, which indicates a person that does the action the verb describes.

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What are some other forms related to killer?

  • self-killer (noun)

What are some synonyms for killer?

What are some words that share a root or word element with killer

What are some words that often get used in discussing killer?

How is killer used in real life?

Killer is a common word that refers to people or things that end lives. It is also used in several slang senses.



Try using killer!

Is killer used correctly in the following sentence?

The detectives determined that the killer used a baseball bat as a weapon in every murder.

How to use killer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for killer

/ (ˈkɪlə) /

  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
Australian and 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