- An example of an assassin is James Earl Ray, who killed Martin Luther King Jr.
- An example of an assassin is a person who is hired by the mafia to kill their enemies.
- a member of a secret terrorist sect of Muslims of the 11th-13th cent., who killed their political enemies as a religious duty, allegedly while under the influence of hashish
- a murderer who strikes suddenly and by surprise: now generally used of the killer of a politically important or prominent person
- a person who harms or ruins someone's reputation, as by slander, vilification, etc.: a journalist who is a well-known character assassin
Origin of assassinFrench ; from Medieval Latin assassinus ; from Arabic ?ashsh?sh?n, hashish users ; from ?ash?sh, hemp
- One who murders by surprise attack, especially one who carries out a plot to kill a prominent person.
- Assassin A member of a militant subgroup of Ismailis that in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries carried out political assassinations directed especially against Seljuk rule.
Origin of assassinFrench, from Medieval Latin assass&imacron;nus, from Arabic &hlowdot;aššaš&imacron;n, pl. of &hlowdot;aššaš, hashish user, from &hlowdot;aš&imacron;š, hashish; see hashish. Word History: The history of the word assassin shows how legends can influence the development of words as powerfully as facts. European legends about a murderous, drug-crazed sect called the Assassins grew up around the Nizaris, a group of Ismaili Shi'ite Muslims that held strongholds in Iran and Syria from the 11th to the 13th century. The Nizaris opposed the rule of the Seljuk dynasty and the Abbasid caliphs, who were Sunni and regarded the Nizaris as unorthodox outcasts. Sunni accounts of the Nizaris accused them of all sorts of irreligious practices, and one term of abuse applied to the Nizaris was the Arabic word &hlowdot;aššaš&imacron;n, meaning “hashish users.” Reliable sources, however, offer no evidence of hashish use by Nizaris. The Nizaris mounted resistance to this persecution, and one of their most formidable weapons against the Seljuks was the threat of sudden execution by secret agents. Attacks on several leaders among the Crusaders were also attributed to Nizari agents. When the Crusaders returned to Europe, they embellished upon what they had heard about the Nizaris from the group's enemies and told sensational stories about the &hlowdot;aššaš&imacron;n or Assassins. Marco Polo spun a tale of how young Assassins were given a potion and made to yearn for paradise—their reward for dying in action—by being given a life of sensual pleasure before their secret missions. As the legends spread, the word &hlowdot;aššaš&imacron;n passed through Italian and French and appeared in English as assassin in the 1500s, already with meanings like “treacherous killer.”
- (historical) A member of a Muslim militant group responsible for murdering Christian leaders during the Crusades.
- Someone who intentionally kills a person, especially a professional who kills a public or political figure.
- Any ruthless killer.
(third-person singular simple present assassins, present participle assassining, simple past and past participle assassined)
- (nonstandard) To assassinate.