[ mur-der ]
See synonyms for murder on
  1. Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder, ormurder one ), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder, ormurder two ).

  2. Slang. something extremely difficult or perilous: That final exam was murder!

  1. a group or flock of crows.

verb (used with object)
  1. Law. to kill by an act constituting murder.

  2. to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously.

  1. to spoil or mar by bad performance, representation, pronunciation, etc.: The tenor murdered the aria.

verb (used without object)
  1. to commit murder.

Idioms about murder

  1. get away with murder, Informal. to engage in a deplorable activity without incurring harm or punishment: The new baby-sitter lets the kids get away with murder.

  2. murder will out, a secret will eventually be exposed.

  1. yell / scream bloody murder,

    • to scream loudly in pain, fear, etc.

    • to protest loudly and angrily: If I don't get a good raise I'm going to yell bloody murder.

Origin of murder

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English mo(u)rdre, murder, variant (influenced by Old French murdre, from Germanic ) of murthre; see murther

synonym study For murder

4. See kill1.

Other words from murder

  • self-murder, noun
  • self-murdered, adjective

Words that may be confused with murder

Words Nearby murder Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use murder in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for murder


/ (ˈmɜːdə) /

  1. the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another: Compare manslaughter, homicide

  2. informal something dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant: driving around London is murder

  1. cry blue murder informal to make an outcry

  2. get away with murder informal to escape censure; do as one pleases

verb(mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to kill (someone) unlawfully with premeditation or during the commission of a crime

  2. to kill brutally

  1. informal to destroy; ruin: he murdered her chances of happiness

  2. informal to defeat completely; beat decisively: the home team murdered their opponents

Origin of murder

Old English morthor; related to Old English morth, Old Norse morth, Latin mors death; compare French meurtre
  • Also (archaic or dialect): murther

Derived forms of murder

  • murderer, noun
  • murderess, fem n

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with murder


In addition to the idiom beginning with murder

  • murder will out

also see:

  • get away with (murder)
  • scream bloody murder

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.