martyr

[ mahr-ter ]
/ ˈmɑr tər /

noun

a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyr to severe headaches.
a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

verb (used with object)

to make a martyr of, especially by putting to death.
to torment or torture.

Nearby words

  1. martinson, harry,
  2. martinsville,
  3. martinů,
  4. martlet,
  5. martnet,
  6. martyrdom,
  7. martyred,
  8. martyrium,
  9. martyrize,
  10. martyrly

Origin of martyr

before 900; (noun) Middle English marter, Old English martyr < Late Latin < Late Greek mártyr, variant of Greek mártys, mártyros witness; (v.) Middle English martiren, Old English martyrian, derivative of noun

Related formsmar·tyr·ish, adjectivemar·tyr·ly, adverb, adjectiveun·mar·tyred, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for martyr


British Dictionary definitions for martyr

martyr

/ (ˈmɑːtə) /

noun

a person who suffers death rather than renounce his religious beliefs
a person who suffers greatly or dies for a cause, belief, etc
a person who suffers from poor health, misfortune, etche's a martyr to rheumatism
facetious, or derogatory a person who feigns suffering to gain sympathy, help, etc

verb Also: 'martyrˌize, 'martyrˌise (tr)

to kill as a martyr
to make a martyr of
Derived Formsmartyrization or martyrisation, noun

Word Origin for martyr

Old English martir, from Church Latin martyr, from Late Greek martur-, martus witness

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

Word Origin and History for martyr
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper