verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- murchison falls,
- murder in the cathedral,
- murder one,
- murder two,
- murder will out,
- 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.
scream bloody murder
Angrily protest as loudly as possible, as in When Jimmy took her teddy bear, Lauren screamed bloody murder, or Residents are screaming bloody murder about the increase in property taxes. The scream here may be either literal (as in the first example) or figurative, which is also true of invoking murder as though one were in danger of being killed. Versions of this term, such as cry murder, date from the 1400s.
In addition to the idiom beginning with murder
- murder will out
- get away with (murder)
- scream bloody murder