- 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.
- to make a martyr of, especially by putting to death.
- to torment or torture.
Origin of martyr
- 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
- to kill as a martyr
- to make a martyr of
Word Origin for martyr
Old English martyrian, from martyr (see martyr (n.)). Middle English also had a verb martyrize.
Old English martyr, from Late Latin martyr, from Doric Greek martyr, earlier martys (genitive martyros) in Christian use "martyr," literally "witness," probably related to mermera "care, trouble," from mermairein "be anxious or thoughtful," from PIE *(s)mrtu- (cf. Sanskrit smarati "remember," Latin memor "mindful;" see memory).
Adopted directly into most Germanic languages, but Norse substituted native formation pislarvattr, literally "torture-witness." General sense of "constant sufferer" is from 1550s. Martyr complex "exaggerated desire for self-sacrifice" is attested from 1920.