Definition of martyrdom in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The death or suffering of a martyr.

    ‘the martyrdom of St Anthony’
    • ‘Christianity in the first three centuries was a religion of martyrdom.’
    • ‘Obedience, suffering, and martyrdom are also the theme of Jesus' words in John 12.’
    • ‘In mentioning martyrdom of course, the question of religion comes up.’
    • ‘We are reminded, for example, that belief in the resurrection of the dead is not an essential feature of the Jewish Bible but a view that developed primarily in response to the martyrdoms of the Maccabean revolt.’
    • ‘What does the Bible tell us about the ministry, martyrdom, resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses?’
    • ‘As of this modern age these acts of martyrdoms are regarded as legends but they are based on historical facts and foundation.’
    • ‘His first encounter with the Stations of the Cross set him howling with fright in church; his compulsory bedtime reading as a child was stories of Christian saints and their martyrdoms.’
    • ‘The persecutions and martyrdoms seemed to have solidified the believers' faith.’
    • ‘They are the words of the martyrs, martyrdom being the frequent fate of prophets.’
    • ‘His martyrdom is the first - and only one - among the Apostles to be recorded in Scripture.’
    • ‘Most notable to European eyes at this time was their religious fanaticism and willingness to seek martyrdom through death in battle.’
    • ‘The missionary Jesuit order developed a speciality in clinical depictions of torturous martyrdoms.’
    • ‘So the following years brought further opposition and persecution, and even martyrdom, to evangelical missionaries in Mexico.’
    • ‘Throughout the entire span of their eventful history, they have struggled and fought for universal causes and have courted martyrdoms to uphold the values of truth, justice and freedom.’
    • ‘A tragedian, Rubens loved to depict battles, atrocities, martyrdoms and slaughters.’
    • ‘An extraordinary letter was written by the prior of the monastery two years before his martyrdom.’
    • ‘Reports of martyrdoms steeled resistance to persecution and were the source of encouragement to persevere.’
    • ‘In each apostle portrait, each man holds the symbol of his martyrdom.’
    • ‘His characters lived and understood themselves in a fallen world where martyrdom was often the cost of salvation.’
    • ‘History is full of their bloody exploits, conquests, sacrifices and martyrdoms.’
    death, suffering, torture, torment, agony, persecution, ordeal, anguish
    killing, putting to death, martyrization, sacrifice, crucifixion, immolation, burning, burning at the stake
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A display of pretended or exaggerated suffering to obtain sympathy.
      ‘you know martyrdom isn't my style’
      • ‘They're self-righteous librarians drunk on the power of process and convinced of the virtue of martyrdom.’
      • ‘How could I refuse such an impressive display of martyrdom?’
      • ‘He does so with an air of martyrdom about him, the selfish man.’
      • ‘Rolling his eyes, he moved to join Max in his excavations, sighing in exaggerated martyrdom.’
      • ‘Being neutral toward the mother/father (without a show of martyrdom) is better for the children that seeing you in conflict, surely.’


Old English martyrdōm (see martyr, -dom).