a. The killing of another person without justification or excuse, especially the crime of killing a person with malice aforethought or with recklessness manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
b. An instance of such killing.
2. Slang Something that is very uncomfortable, difficult, or hazardous: The rush hour traffic is murder.
3. A flock of crows.
v. mur·dered, mur·der·ing, mur·ders
1. To kill (another human) in an act of murder.
2. To kill brutally or inhumanly: Thousands of civilians were murdered in the bombardment.
3. To put an end to; destroy: murdered their chances.
4. To spoil by ineptness; mutilate: a speech that murdered the English language.
5. Slang To defeat decisively; trounce.
To commit murder.
get away with murder Informal
To escape punishment for or detection of an egregiously blameworthy act.
murder will out
Secrets or misdeeds will eventually be disclosed.
[Middle English murther, from Old English morthor; see mer- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.