verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- 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
verb (mainly tr)
Word Origin for murder
c.1300, murdre, from Old English morðor (plural morþras) "secret killing of a person, unlawful killing," also "mortal sin, crime; punishment, torment, misery," from Proto-Germanic *murthra- (cf. Goth maurþr, and, from a variant form of the same root, Old Saxon morth, Old Frisian morth, Old Norse morð, Middle Dutch moort, Dutch moord, German Mord "murder"), from PIE *mrtro-, from root *mer- "to die" (see mortal (adj.)). The spelling with -d- probably reflects influence of Anglo-French murdre, from Old French mordre, from Medieval Latin murdrum, from the Germanic root.
Viking custom, typical of Germanic, distinguished morð (Old Norse) "secret slaughter," from vig (Old Norse) "slaying." The former involved concealment, or slaying a man by night or when asleep, and was a heinous crime. The latter was not a disgrace, if the killer acknowledged his deed, but he was subject to vengeance or demand for compensation.
Mordre wol out that se we day by day. [Chaucer, "Nun's Priest's Tale," c.1386]
Weakened sense of "very unpleasant situation" is from 1878.
Old English myrðrian, from Proto-Germanic *murthjan (cf. Old High German murdran, German mördren, Gothic maurþjan; see murder (n.)). Related: Murdered; murdering.
Murder will out
Crime or wrongdoing will eventually be discovered and punished.
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
- get away with (murder)
- scream bloody murder