[ vik-tim ]
See synonyms for: victimvictims on

  1. a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.

  2. a person who is deceived or cheated, as by their own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence;the victim of a swindler;a victim of an optical illusion.

  1. a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.

  2. a living creature sacrificed in religious rites.

Origin of victim

First recorded in 1490–1500 ; from Latin victima “sacrificial animal”

Other words from victim

  • vic·tim·hood, noun
  • vic·tim·less, adjective
  • non·vic·tim, noun

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

How to use victim in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for victim


/ (ˈvɪktɪm) /

  1. a person or thing that suffers harm, death, etc, from another or from some adverse act, circumstance, etc: victims of tyranny

  2. a person who is tricked or swindled; dupe

  1. a living person or animal sacrificed in a religious rite

Origin of victim

C15: from Latin victima

usage For victim

Using the word victim or victims in relation to chronic illness or disability is often considered demeaning and disempowering. Alternative phrases such as who experiences, who has been diagnosed with, or simply with and then the name of the disability or illness, can be used instead

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