One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person who murders an important person for political or religious reasons.
murderer, killer, executioner, gunman, butcher, slaughterer, liquidator, exterminator, terminatorView synonyms
- ‘He would like to deny that history which depicts Turks as assassins, or apportion blame to the Armenians.’
- ‘She knew now he was not sleeping, and had been murdered by the assassins who lay dead on her floor.’
- ‘It's unlikely a professional assassin would have shown his face or made a getaway on foot.’
- ‘Police believe the victim may not have even seen the assassin who murdered him with a single shot to the back.’
- ‘Both presidents were assassinated in office and both assassins used their middle names for preference.’
- ‘She seeks revenge upon the other assassins with whom she worked.’
- ‘The combination of the assassins, of time, of blame, and his own inevitable errors mean that someone else must take on the job.’
- ‘Paramilitary assassins used live ammunition and shot to the head.’
- ‘One of the assassins was traced to the village of Lidice which was to pay a terrible price for having one of its townsfolk involved in this killing.’
- ‘Cyanide is a colourless, lethal, water-soluble poison occasionally used by mafia assassins.’
- ‘We also give the name of the assassin who attempted three days ago to murder an SEP member.’
- ‘From his comment, Flynn obviously knew the reason why his assassin was there.’
- ‘The assassin hadn't killed him yet - that was important given the skill this man had.’
- ‘It focuses brilliantly on political intrigue and high stakes and assassins and crumbling empires.’
- ‘This particular guild was a home to 75 of the best thieves, assassins and cut throats in Europe.’
- ‘However, I was an assassin, trained to kill with or without a good reason.’
- ‘He was murdered under mysterious circumstances; the assassin has never been found.’
- ‘The men who were on the terrace were obviously not the actual assassins.’
- ‘After all, the assassins are willing to kill and wound hundreds to get one man.’
- ‘The real targets of these laws will not be bomb throwers or assassins.’
2AssassinA member of the Nizari branch of Ismaili Muslims at the time of the Crusades, when the newly established sect ruled part of northern Persia (1094–1256). They were renowned as militant fanatics, and were popularly reputed to use hashish before going on murder missions.
- ‘In the 11 th century in the Middle East the Shiite sect known as the Assassins would eat hashish before murdering civilian foes.’
- ‘In June, the Sultan had an Assassin try to murder Prince Edward.’
- ‘The Crusaders mistook the Nizaris' association with political murder with hashish addiction and spawned the Assassins legend.’
- ‘The Muslim Cult of Assassins of the 12th and 13th centuries, like the Jewish Zealots of the 1st, have been enrolled for this genealogical purpose.’
- ‘In November 1126, he was stabbed to death by an Assassin.’
Mid 16th century: from French, or from medieval Latin assassinus, from Arabic ḥašīšī ‘hashish-eater’.
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