Definition of killer in English:



  • 1A person or thing that kills.

    ‘there's a killer on the loose’
    • ‘Some of the giant clouds or dust trails might be real killers - bearing viruses with the power to infect and destroy a wide range of species.’
    • ‘Due to the style of the shooting, police initial suspicions pointed to a contract killing with the killers meeting the dead man at the location where the body was discovered.’
    • ‘The court heard how the car used by the killers was bought in Dublin for 600 euros through an ad last October.’
    • ‘Faced with life in prison, his only hope is to find the real killer.’
    • ‘To us a mosquito bite is an inconvenience, but for families in Africa it can be a killer.’
    • ‘German police are hunting a killer responsible for the death of 15 flamingos at Frankfurt Zoo.’
    • ‘Police say they're hunting a killer who beat a 94-year-old woman to death.’
    • ‘When police arrested him in 1979, they found a knife consistent with the weapon used by the killer.’
    • ‘Two generations ago, for example, diabetes was a killer.’
    • ‘Even though he himself has killed many people, he justifies it by reasoning that he only kills killers.’
    • ‘Despite his protestations of innocence, many in jail believed he was the ruthless killer of a defenceless teenager.’
    • ‘She plays DSI Stella Gibson, who is drafted in from London's Met Police to help catch a killer on the loose in Belfast.’
    • ‘Police say the killer escaped over a rear fence at the home, leaving a patch of blood.’
    • ‘In spite of reform in the law they say conviction rates are not encouraging and in most cases the killers escape justice.’
    murderer, slaughterer, destroyer, liquidator, exterminator, terminator, executioner
    cause of death, deadly illness, fatal illness, destroyer, threat to life, menace, plague, scourge, peril
    View synonyms
  • 2informal An extremely difficult or unpleasant thing.

    ‘the shift system was a killer’
    • ‘Week two, however, was just a killer and has me doubting the talent in a lot of areas that I thought were all set.’
    • ‘Deflation is a killer for anyone with a mortgage.’
    • ‘The bus journey back to London was an absolute killer.’
    • ‘The real killer was introducing change, or even creating a plan, whilst meeting our other commitments.’
    • ‘This year was a total killer. It was devastating not to be playing football.’
    • ‘That walk up the hill at first is an absolute killer!’
    • ‘The tough, largely uphill five-mile route was a killer for many of the 150 runners who took part.’
    • ‘The killer is the cost of fuel. Every time we pull out of here we have to go over a hundred miles.’
    • ‘I'd grab your sunnies as you leave home this morning - sun glare is a killer!’
    • ‘Those 300 squats are a killer but my glutes appreciate them.’
    • ‘I tell my patients twins are not twice the fun. One is hard enough. Two at a time is a killer for some people.’
    • ‘You won't have the liability, but it's proving it that's the killer.’
    • ‘Cash-flow is a killer for many businesses that might have a fantastic product or service, but can't afford to bring it to market on their upfront costs and keep operations running.’
    • ‘You'll be moving around at uni a lot, and heavy laptops are a killer.’
    • ‘This month could be a real killer.’
    1. 2.1 A formidably impressive person or thing.
      ‘it's the zoom lens that makes this camera an absolute killer’
      • ‘He has beaten his demons and has kicked out a killer of an album.’
      • ‘The novel features a killer of an opening sentence: "The strangest thing about my wife's return from the dead was how other people reacted."’
      • ‘While he has dabbled in a wide spectrum of dance music and hip-hop, his freshest tune out of the oven is called "Machete" and it's a killer.’
      • ‘Her Elektra is a killer of a performance: a symphony of rage and hurt.’
      • ‘The pizza here has always been a killer.’
      • ‘I found myself getting an absolute killer of a massage that wiped out pretty much all the stress my back and shoulders had received from too much computer time at work.’
      • ‘So even if this song doesn't make it as big as Gangnam Style, it's still a killer of a summer single!’
      • ‘The berry mimosa is a KILLER (as in good).’
    2. 2.2 A hilarious joke.
      • ‘He can take his time getting to the 'gag' bit because the audience know that when it comes it will be a killer of a punchline.’
      • ‘Those witty one-liners were killers.’
      • ‘The rabbit punchline was a killer.’
      • ‘Has he proven that he can rock style, presence and power with his raspy flow and long list of one-line killers?’
      funny story, jest, witticism, quip, pleasantry
      View synonyms
  • 3Australian NZ informal An animal that has been selected for slaughter.


  • 1attributive Denoting a person or thing that kills.

    ‘a killer virus’
    • ‘This winged predator from Europe, where it's also known as the "killer fly," has a taste for some of the insects greenhouse keepers find most distasteful.’
    • ‘Africanized honey bees - melodramatically labeled "killer bees" - are the result of honey bees brought from Africa to Brazil in the 1950s.’
    • ‘This killer disease of young people in dense cities caused coughing and was evidently exacerbated by polluted air, just as it was relieved by the pure air of the mountains.’
    • ‘The new technology will give health officials an important tool for controlling the killer virus.’
    • ‘This third-person shooter game takes place in 3 D mazes where killer robots are running loose.’
    • ‘The ultimate goal is to raise awareness and money to fund the research that could one day cure this killer disease.’
    • ‘Sometimes referred to as "killer algae," C. taxifolia flourishes in warm saltwater harbors, bays, and lagoons.’
    • ‘A top US disease expert said this week the killer virus was the world's number one health threat.’
    • ‘This morning, news was breaking about a new 'killer' flu virus which has just appeared in Asia.’
    • ‘He sold walking sticks, which became known as 'killer sticks' after a French Quarter buggy driver supposedly used one to beat off a mugger.’
  • 2informal Extremely difficult or unpleasant.

    ‘I woke up with a killer hangover’
    • ‘August 20: we got our first break from the killer heat, with a ten-degree drop in temperature.’
    • ‘We developed a soft spot for the place - primarily because its lift cut a good bit of the climb out of the journey from the village, up that killer hill, to the bus stop on the main road.’
    • ‘With killer temperatures and a complete whiteout on area highways, traffic was at a standstill and not one hotel room in the entire city was available.’
    • ‘Crossing over from pop music stardom to movie stardom is a killer assignment, no matter how big you are as a pop phenomenon.’
    • ‘The consequences of too much holiday cheer are universal: killer headaches, churning stomachs, dry throats, and furry tongues.’
    • ‘Fatty foods are the only thing that are going to cure this killer hangover.’
    • ‘After another killer shift in the kitchen, I come home and listen to this and it makes me laugh.’
    • ‘Much of the dialogue has been focused on the killer low milk prices that afflicted farmers from 2001 through the first half of 2003.’
    • ‘Can there be a downer side to Mardi Gras other than the inevitable killer hangover the day after?’
    1. 2.1US Very impressive or effective; excellent.
      ‘the soundtrack is killer’
      ‘a killer physique’
      • ‘The plot really is the weakest part of the film, existing solely as a backdrop to pin some killer stunts on.’
      • ‘Both dishes were totally killer!’
      • ‘There's a killer choice of separates that cover all the key trends for the new season including the leather skirt, cable knit, and boyfriend jacket.’
      • ‘I certainly think this is in the running for album of the year, Black John and Peckinpah are absolute killer songs!’
      • ‘Despite what they might think, a killer tablet requires more than just a killer screen.’
      • ‘The real meat of the song, the truly great part, doesn't hit until 3:35 where a slow, soft instrumental breakdown builds up to a killer crescendo.’
      • ‘The Grill specializes in delicious, simply prepared fish and salads, big drinks, and killer desserts.’
      • ‘He has a killer smile and very nice eyes.’
      • ‘Loss of bladder control is a real possibility at points in this hour as he delivers an absolute killer show - probably his finest to hit Edinburgh.’
      • ‘It's a killer site: you get the sense that it's run by people with boundless enthusiasm and competence.’
      • ‘It may comfort you to know the leggy lady actually has to work just as hard as the rest of us to maintain her killer shape.’
      • ‘All you need is a killer pair of heels and a sleek clutch for party perfection!’