Definition of infanticide in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The crime of a mother killing her child within a year of birth:

    ‘cases of infanticide often involve extreme emotional disturbance’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are several offences of unlawful homicide: murder, manslaughter, infanticide and causing death by dangerous driving.’
    • ‘Hence, if I go on to express my rejection of infanticide by saying that infanticide is wrong I am committed to rejecting abortion.’
    • ‘The death penalty applied to homicide, infanticide, rape, robbery, and a number of non-violent crimes, like theft.’
    • ‘Murder and infanticide have been declared heinous crimes.’
    • ‘Cases now treated as infanticide often involve extreme emotional disturbance, as do mercy killings, suicide pacts, and cases of duress.’
    • ‘One deals with the postpartum depression defense for a mother accused of infanticide.’
    • ‘And birth is too late, because abortion of a nearly full-term fetus is (under most circumstances) the moral equivalent of infanticide.’
    • ‘There were sixteen convictions for manslaughter (although the original charge had been murder), one for infanticide, and one for murder.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.’
    • ‘A paediatrician argued that two infant deaths within the family made infanticide statistically almost certain, and that the episodes of hypernatraemia indicated salt poisoning.’
    • ‘Lord Goldsmith said 258 convictions of parents over 10 years for infanticide, murder and manslaughter were to be reviewed ‘as a matter of urgency’.’
    • ‘Abortion is the destruction of life after conception and before birth, whereas infanticide is the killing of new-born babies.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Our practice and our thought recognize infanticide in the archetypal mother, its desire to smother, dissolve, mourn, bewitch, poison, and petrify.’
    • ‘A concealed pregnancy was considered tantamount to the crime of infanticide.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Psychologist Ilham al-Sarraf explained how Islam helped end the practice of female infanticide in the Middle East.’
      • ‘Guru Gobind Singh issued orders forbidding the Khalsa having any association with those that practiced female infanticide.’
      • ‘Women had a considerably better deal in ancient Israel than in, say, Assyria, and Muhammad, forbade the common practice of 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.’
      • ‘There is a very widespread and accepted practice of infanticide in most countries.’
      • ‘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 was practised before the British arrived particularly among the high castes.’
      • ‘The practice of female infanticide in rural areas is alarming.’
      • ‘Cherokee women also customarily had a great deal of control over their own reproductive activities, having the right to practice abortion and infanticide.’
      • ‘Religious edicts have underpinned suicide bombings, amputations, female infanticide and genital mutilation, and the practice of suttee.’
      • ‘But, in a country where female infanticide is practised and baby girls abandoned in dustbins, women chief ministers in five States is, nonetheless, remarkable.’
      • ‘Female infanticide and discrimination is against the principles of liberty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The practice of infanticide decreased since children could now be used in rudimentary agricultural tasks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sometimes the check is the natural one of famine and plague; in other societies, systematic infanticide is practiced.’
      • ‘Despite numerous measures taken by the Government, cases of female infanticide are reported from many areas.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2A person who kills an infant, especially their own child.

    • ‘The Euripidean portrait of Medea as an infanticide had roots in the folkloric paradigm of the child-killing demon.’
    • ‘Saturn Devouring One of His Sons depicts the graphic and bloody dismemberment of a cannibalistic infanticide.’
    • ‘Frenchwomen Ask Clemency for an Infanticide.’
    • ‘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.’


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