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.

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 forms

mar·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 Forms

martyrization 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