Definition of suicide in US English:



  • 1The action of killing oneself intentionally.

    ‘he committed suicide at the age of forty’
    ‘drug-related suicides’
    • ‘Two alleged paedophiles, who lived opposite the proposed hostel in Fivefields Road, committed suicide on the day they were to supposed to stand trial at Winchester Crown Court.’
    • ‘Most of the Jews inside decided they would rather die than surrender, and committed mass suicide.’
    • ‘The depressive comic committed suicide in 1968, at the age of 44, but left behind a wealth of material that has continued to win fans with sketches such as The Blood Donor.’
    • ‘The story goes that the first forced marriage was carried out in the 1970s, after seven sisters, unmarried because of their poverty, committed suicide together.’
    • ‘The foundation said that this year several potato growers of Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country committed suicide because of over-production and no buyers.’
    • ‘What should you do if someone your child knows, perhaps a friend or a classmate, has attempted or committed suicide?’
    • ‘If they committed suicide we must know why they committed suicide, and if they were murdered we must know why.’
    • ‘A woman whose husband committed suicide was one of those who contributed to a recent seminar on suicide held in Skreen.’
    • ‘Her father committed suicide, her mother attempted suicide and she is co-founder of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.’
    • ‘The troubled woman committed suicide seven years ago.’
    • ‘None of their family members had attempted or committed suicide in the preceding year.’
    • ‘The doomed King Charles I's surveyor, Abraham van der Doort, for instance, committed suicide after misplacing one of 3,000 miniatures.’
    • ‘Over the past seven years, 92 people have committed suicide or died while attempting to avoid deportation.’
    • ‘In Wilson College, Mumbai, an assistant librarian committed suicide because the college authorities had allegedly harassed her.’
    • ‘On another occasion during our two-year lease, a man who lived across the street committed suicide by jumping from what was a one-story building.’
    • ‘Eight anarchist trade unionists were arrested: four were hanged, one committed suicide in prison and the remaining three were eventually pardoned.’
    self-destruction, taking one's own life, self-murder, self-slaughter, felo de se
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person who commits suicide.
      • ‘The autonomy granted by decriminalising suicide and attempted suicide in section 1 enables a would-be suicide to change her mind and seek help without fear of prosecution.’
      • ‘A would-be suicide was talked out of hanging himself from a public bridge - only to be promptly charged with assault.’
      • ‘Jane Pennington died a suicide at the age of 48.’
      • ‘After, on average, more than twenty-six years, ninety-four per cent of the would-be suicides were either still alive or had died of natural causes.’
      • ‘Other songs have ageing rockers dying unmourned and a would-be suicide weighing up the pro's and con's of life.’
      • ‘Over the years the Humber Bridge has built up an unenviable reputation for attracting would-be suicides.’
      • ‘Nor is it at all uncommon for suicides to work something from popular songs or books or films into their deaths.’
      • ‘It could just be about the world's losers, the failed would-be suicides and all our broken hearts.’
      • ‘Many SIBs would previously have been recorded as would-be suicides.’
      • ‘We drove across a bridge that's become so popular with suicides that the city is now encasing it with expensive, hideous jumper-proof wiring.’
      • ‘But in fact more than half have not been convicted of anything, and are placed here by social services because they are runaways, potentially violent, self-harmers or potential suicides.’
    2. 1.2 A course of action that is disastrously damaging to oneself or one's own interests.
      ‘it would be political suicide to restrict criteria for unemployment benefits’
      • ‘But, as in the case of his father, that would have been less a gesture of bipartisanship than an act of political suicide.’
      • ‘At least in the immediate aftermath of the election, the editors recognize that that position is political suicide.’
      • ‘There was no question of sitting on the sidelines; a neither-nor alternative would be political suicide and a declaration of bankruptcy on a vital issue.’
      • ‘I want to ask your outstanding panel, with the stock market way up and the economy roaring, why in the world would not it be political suicide to repeal the tax cut?’
      • ‘It will be political suicide for the Government if the Western Rail Corridor is not reopened, the West On Track group has warned.’
      • ‘This kind of behavior among liberals is called political suicide.’
      • ‘That, like the pacifist option, is the path of political suicide.’
      • ‘But in the current political climate, with the Feds handing out tax cuts, raising taxes is political suicide.’
      • ‘Chirac would be risking political suicide if he tried to re-run the referendum after such an overwhelming ‘no’ vote.’
      • ‘‘They've just committed suicide,’ he said of the committee.’
      • ‘For any processor, being associated with an outbreak of foodborne illness is not only ethically damaging, but financial suicide.’
      • ‘However I cannot see any Member of Parliament putting up a white paper suggesting this, as it would be political suicide for the individual concerned.’
      • ‘Mould's no fool, mind you - to deny his past would be career suicide.’
      • ‘Given the state of the town's finances, a 60 per cent rise in allowances would not only have been immoral, but also political suicide.’
      • ‘Who will say ‘no’ when the consultants argue that it's political suicide not to say ‘yes’?’
      • ‘But he's understandably not interested in committing career suicide.’
      • ‘Openness to a range of options becomes weakness, thinking things through is dithering and willingness to accept the idea that you might sometimes be wrong is political suicide.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, we haven't yet reached the point where that kind of bigotry is political suicide in this country.’
      • ‘It would be political suicide for your government.’
      • ‘Of course all these men knew, as all modern presidential candidates know, that to admit to theological skepticism is political suicide.’
    3. 1.3as modifier Relating to or denoting a violent act or attack carried out by a person who does not expect to survive it.
      ‘a suicide blast caused more deaths’
      • ‘He will be lower profile, but the suicide bombings are expected to continue because he is an extremist.’
      • ‘Quoting the SAS motto Who Dares Wins, he called on worshippers to ‘out-imagine’ those who carried out suicide bombings.’
      • ‘What they believed they were searching for was a suicide hijacker or team of hijackers.’
      • ‘It was not immediately clear whether the teenager was connected to any of the militant groups that have carried out suicide bombings.’
      • ‘Last month's murder of 31 Indians was blamed on three suicide attackers.’
      • ‘A man dresses as a suicide bomber and carries a fake bomb.’
      • ‘In past weeks, bombers have carried out heavy suicide bombings but in single strikes.’
      • ‘The attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who blew himself up in a parking lot close to a restaurant.’
      • ‘They said they have been ordered to carry out suicide bombings but decided instead they would give up.’
      • ‘His determination to carry out a suicide bombing was against the wishes of his own family.’
      • ‘Since then she has had a string of roles in Hindi cinema, the most notable being her portrayal of a suicide bomber in The Terrorist.’
      • ‘A missile attack on a densely populated area is no more justifiable than a suicide bombing.’
      • ‘They know that no military operation can stop the suicide bombers.’
      • ‘‘The result of the investigation so far indicates that the bombings were carried out by suicide bombers,’ he said.’
      • ‘The documents showed some entered the country in the days around the suicide hijackings.’
      • ‘Thus, Pape believes that suicide terrorism is essentially a strategy for national liberation from foreign military occupation.’
      • ‘Several villages around the cities have also been occupied as the army tries to prevent militants from carrying out suicide bombings.’
      • ‘The explosive charges carried by the suicide bombers were packed with ball bearings and pieces of metal to maximise death and injury.’
      • ‘One member of the terrorist group was a suicide bomber who blew himself up next to a security fence, enabling the other gunmen to storm the religious site.’
      • ‘Your squad travels behind enemy lines disabling radio contacts, to better prepare the suicide mission of Operation Overlord.’
      • ‘In his usual style, he had set up entities to carry out the suicide bomb operations that allowed him to deny responsibility for them.’
  • 2US A running drill consisting of a sprint to a set point (especially a line on a basketball court) and back to the start, immediately followed by additional sprints of lengthening distances.

    ‘we shot free throws and if we missed we ran suicides’


[no object]
  • Intentionally kill oneself.

    ‘he leaves the service and then suicides’
    • ‘I think this is a very difficult question, and I think our moods have swung from time to time, but in the dark moments we felt that he may well have suicided.’
    • ‘In 1990, suffering from AIDS related illnesses, he suicided in New York.’
    • ‘Some months later, when another soldier learned that his dad had suicided, it was Garrick who sought him out and gave that soldier the best support.’
    • ‘A few years ago a Canadian colleague suicided when her ground-breaking work was repeatedly questioned on grounds that many of us thought were themselves of dubious merit.’
    • ‘Many of our students know a friend or a friend's family member who has suicided.’
    • ‘Before David's death I had lost people I loved - perhaps most closely, my maternal grandmother, and a friend and teacher who suicided.’
    • ‘His moods swings were cyclical and he was familiar with the impulse to suicide, as this verse attests.’
    • ‘Two people closely associated with this band have suicided in the past year.’
    • ‘This registry provided a good database about people who had suicided while on clozapine versus those who had discontinued clozapine.’
    • ‘If the men who suicided to hurt us did so thinking that they would be poisoning us and future generations with the kind of hate and lust for revenge that seems to have wrecked you, then they failed and their deaths were utterly without meaning.’
    • ‘So, that's the good news and we're even learning more so that perhaps in the future we get better at predicting who's most vulnerable to going and suiciding.’
    • ‘He suicided after not coping with the culture of persecution attached to the unit.’
    • ‘It actually turned out to be that her son had suicided.’
    • ‘But the union actually says that more people, more bank tellers suicided using those guns’
    • ‘We're not a deprived country, and yet why are so many young men suiciding?’
    • ‘People who came to see us have suicided since, and we found that very hard to take.’
    • ‘Most of these people I believe are suiciding in advance of the time that they would rather take their own lives because they are afraid of losing the opportunity to take their own lives.’
    • ‘Geraldine, whose husband suicided, gave a very moving and helpful account of coping with the death of her loved one.’
    • ‘So it didn't come as a surprise when she suicided.’
    • ‘Tone, aboard the last French invasion fleet, was captured and suicided before he could be hanged.’


Mid 17th century: from modern Latin suicidium ‘act of suicide’, suicida ‘person who commits suicide’, from Latin sui ‘of oneself’ + caedere ‘kill’.