[ vik-tim ]
/ ˈvɪk tɪm /


a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.
a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her 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.
a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.
a living creature sacrificed in religious rites.

Nearby words

  1. viconian,
  2. vicontiel,
  3. vicq d'azyr's bundle,
  4. vict.,
  5. victa,
  6. victimization,
  7. victimize,
  8. victimless,
  9. victimless crime,
  10. victimology

Origin of victim

First recorded in 1490–1500, victim is from the Latin word victima sacrificial animal

Related formsvic·tim·hood, nounvic·tim·less, adjectivenon·vic·tim, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for victim

British Dictionary definitions for victim


/ (ˈvɪktɪm) /


a person or thing that suffers harm, death, etc, from another or from some adverse act, circumstance, etcvictims of tyranny
a person who is tricked or swindled; dupe
a living person or animal sacrificed in a religious rite

Word Origin for victim

C15: from Latin victima


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

Word Origin and History for victim



late 15c., "living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power," from Latin victima "person or animal killed as a sacrifice." Perhaps distantly connected to Old English wig "idol," Gothic weihs "holy," German weihen "consecrate" (cf. Weihnachten "Christmas") on notion of "a consecrated animal." Sense of "person who is hurt, tortured, or killed by another" is first recorded 1650s; meaning "person oppressed by some power or situation" is from 1718. Weaker sense of "person taken advantage of" is recorded from 1781.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper