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), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).
Slang. something extremely difficult or perilous: That final exam was murder!
a group or flock of crows.

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to commit murder.

Nearby words

  1. murchison,
  2. murchison falls,
  3. murcia,
  4. murcott,
  5. murdabad,
  6. murder in the cathedral,
  7. murder one,
  8. murder two,
  9. murder will out,
  10. murderball


Origin of murder

1300–50; Middle English mo(u)rdre, murder, variant (influenced by Old French murdre < Germanic) of murthre murther

Related formsself-mur·der, nounself-mur·dered, adjective

Can be confusedhomicide manslaughter murder (see synonym study at kill1)

Synonym study

4. See kill1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for murder will out



the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by anotherCompare manslaughter, homicide
informal something dangerous, difficult, or unpleasantdriving around London is murder
cry blue murder informal to make an outcry
get away with murder informal to escape censure; do as one pleases

verb (mainly tr)

(also intr) to kill (someone) unlawfully with premeditation or during the commission of a crime
to kill brutally
informal to destroy; ruinhe murdered her chances of happiness
informal to defeat completely; beat decisivelythe home team murdered their opponents
Also (archaic or dialect): murther

Derived Formsmurderer, nounmurderess, fem n

Word Origin for murder

Old English morthor; related to Old English morth, Old Norse morth, Latin mors death; compare French meurtre

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 murder will out
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for murder will out

Murder will out

Crime or wrongdoing will eventually be discovered and punished.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with murder will out

murder will out

Certain news cannot be suppressed, as in He's being charged with embezzlement and fraud—murder will out, you know. This expression already appeared in Chaucer's The Nun's Priest's Tale: “Murder will out that we see day by day.” [Late 1300s]


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.