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Definition of Murder

(noun) The premeditated act or process of an individual or group unlawfully killing another individual or group.

Examples of Murder

  • Serial killer shooting a victim.
  • Stalker stabbing an individual to death.

Types of Murder

  • amicicide: Murder of one’s friend.
  • androcide: Murder of a man.
  • avunculicide: Murder of one’s uncle.
  • femicide: Murder of a woman.
    • Also called gynocide.
  • filicide: Murder of one’s offspring.
  • fratricide:
    • Murder of one’s brother.
    • Murder of one’s sibling.
  • gendercide: Murder of a specific gender or sex.
  • infanticide: Murder of an infant.
  • mariticide: Murder of a husband by his wife.
  • multicide: Murder of multiple people; mass murder.
  • neonaticide: Murder of newborn child.
  • infanticide: Murder of an infant.
  • parricide: Murder of one’s family, particularly a parent.
  • patricide: Murder of one’s father.
  • prolicide: Murder of one’s offspring.
  • regicide: Murder of a king.
  • sororicide: Murder of one’s sister.
  • tyrannicide: Murder of a tyrant.
  • uxoricide: Murder of a wife by her husband.
  • viricide: Murder of a husband.

Murder Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: mur·der

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /mUHR-duhr/
  • British English – /mUHR-duh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈmərdər/
  • British English – /ˈməːdə/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: murders
  • Murder is not technically the same as homicide (the killing of an individual by another individual) or manslaughter (a homicide without premeditated malice). The legal distinctions between murder and manslaughter vary greatly between jurisdictions.
  • Loosely defined, genocide is the murder of a group and a homicide is the murder of an individual.
  • The United States legally differentiates between four types of homicide. First-degree murder, Second-degree murder, Voluntary Manslaughter (also called Third-degree murder), and Involuntary Manslaughter.
  • Postmortem means “after death” and antemortem means “before death.”
  • A (noun) murderer (verb) murders with (adjective) murderous intent.

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Additional Information

Related Terms

Works Consulted

Briggs, Steven M., and Joan Friedman. 2009. Criminology For Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Siegel, Larry J., and Clemens Bartollas. 2011. Corrections Today. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Siegel, Larry J., and John L. Worrall. 2012. Introduction to Criminal Justice. 13th ed. Belmont: CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Siegel, Larry J., and John L. Worrall. 2013. Essentials of Criminal Justice. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

Cite the Definition of Murder

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “murder.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 24, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/murder/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

murder. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/murder/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “murder.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/murder/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“murder.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 24 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/murder/>.