Definition of infanticide in English:



  • 1mass noun The crime of a mother killing her child within a year of birth.

    ‘cases of infanticide often involve extreme emotional disturbance’
    • ‘There were sixteen convictions for manslaughter (although the original charge had been murder), one for infanticide, and one for murder.’
    • ‘One deals with the postpartum depression defense for a mother accused of infanticide.’
    • ‘Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.’
    • ‘The death penalty applied to homicide, infanticide, rape, robbery, and a number of non-violent crimes, like theft.’
    • ‘Of course infanticide is a crime, but our treatment of it must be handled with compassion when such delicate issues as teenage pregnancy are involved.’
    • ‘Our practice and our thought recognize infanticide in the archetypal mother, its desire to smother, dissolve, mourn, bewitch, poison, and petrify.’
    • ‘Abortion is the destruction of life after conception and before birth, whereas infanticide is the killing of new-born babies.’
    • ‘Lord Goldsmith said 258 convictions of parents over 10 years for infanticide, murder and manslaughter were to be reviewed ‘as a matter of urgency’.’
    • ‘A concealed pregnancy was considered tantamount to the crime of infanticide.’
    • ‘Hence, if I go on to express my rejection of infanticide by saying that infanticide is wrong I am committed to rejecting abortion.’
    • ‘There are several offences of unlawful homicide: murder, manslaughter, infanticide and causing death by dangerous driving.’
    • ‘And birth is too late, because abortion of a nearly full-term fetus is (under most circumstances) the moral equivalent of infanticide.’
    • ‘Cases now treated as infanticide often involve extreme emotional disturbance, as do mercy killings, suicide pacts, and cases of duress.’
    • ‘The vast majority of women who are charged under Britain's infanticide statute are convicted and then given probationary sentences, often with mandatory psychological counseling.’
    • ‘So is it possible to say, leaving infanticide to one side, what kind of mothers do better under the legal system and which do worse?’
    • ‘A paediatrician argued that two infant deaths within the family made infanticide statistically almost certain, and that the episodes of hypernatraemia indicated salt poisoning.’
    • ‘Murder and infanticide have been declared heinous crimes.’
    murder, taking of life, assassination, homicide, manslaughter, liquidation, elimination, doing to death, putting to death, execution, dispatch, martyrdom
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The practice in some societies of killing unwanted children soon after birth.
      ‘female infanticide was practised to reduce the population in times of famine’
      • ‘Cherokee women also customarily had a great deal of control over their own reproductive activities, having the right to practice abortion and infanticide.’
      • ‘There is a very widespread and accepted practice of infanticide in most countries.’
      • ‘Despite numerous measures taken by the Government, cases of female infanticide are reported from many areas.’
      • ‘Guru Gobind Singh issued orders forbidding the Khalsa having any association with those that practiced female infanticide.’
      • ‘Thanks to new laws and an aggressive intervention program, fewer girl children in Salem are being murdered, but the practice of female infanticide continues.’
      • ‘Female infanticide was common, and the practice of sati, the immolation of the wife on her husband's funeral pyre, was encouraged, sometimes even forced.’
      • ‘Psychologist Ilham al-Sarraf explained how Islam helped end the practice of female infanticide in the Middle East.’
      • ‘But, in a country where female infanticide is practised and baby girls abandoned in dustbins, women chief ministers in five States is, nonetheless, remarkable.’
      • ‘The practice of female infanticide started 50 years ago when a dam was constructed in the area and the village was divided into the well-irrigated and the arid zones leading to a great deal of economic inequality, says Johnson.’
      • ‘Here our boys saw off a corrupt and lecherous Indian ‘Brahmin’ priest and his gang, who were bent on preserving the alleged practice of female infanticide in India.’
      • ‘The practice of female infanticide in rural areas is alarming.’
      • ‘Religious edicts have underpinned suicide bombings, amputations, female infanticide and genital mutilation, and the practice of suttee.’
      • ‘Female infanticide was practised before the British arrived particularly among the high castes.’
      • ‘Female infanticide and discrimination is against the principles of liberty.’
      • ‘The tome documents historical cases when women were targeted for gendercide, including the practice of female infanticide, the witch-hunts in Europe, and war rapes.’
      • ‘In places where female infanticide was a customary practice, female foeticide has come in as a deadly substitute that is more convenient, less traumatic and equally effective.’
      • ‘Female infanticide, sex selective abortions, and the abandonment and neglect of baby girls remained problems due to the traditional preference for sons, and the birth limitation policy.’
      • ‘Women had a considerably better deal in ancient Israel than in, say, Assyria, and Muhammad, forbade the common practice of female infanticide.’
      • ‘Sometimes the check is the natural one of famine and plague; in other societies, systematic infanticide is practiced.’
      • ‘The practice of infanticide decreased since children could now be used in rudimentary agricultural tasks.’
  • 2A person who kills an infant, especially their own child.

    • ‘Saturn Devouring One of His Sons depicts the graphic and bloody dismemberment of a cannibalistic infanticide.’
    • ‘The Euripidean portrait of Medea as an infanticide had roots in the folkloric paradigm of the child-killing demon.’
    • ‘Their vision of murderesses and female infanticides as victims and of their murders as motivated by self-defense was part of a strategy of systematic confrontation.’
    • ‘Frenchwomen Ask Clemency for an Infanticide.’


Mid 17th century: via French from late Latin infanticidium, from Latin infant- (see infant) + -cidium (see -cide).