Definition of tyrannicide in English:



  • 1The killing of a tyrant.

    • ‘To buttress his stance that the Church sanctioned such assassinations, Petit drew on Thomas Aquinas and other theologians, but the defense rested on John of Salisbury's explicit theories about the legitimacy of tyrannicide.’
    • ‘Let us now return to the focus of this essay and examine how the two sculptures by Donatello relate to John of Salisbury's discussions of the state and tyrannicide.’
    • ‘It stood at the center of impassioned debate throughout Europe three hundred years later because it provided the most notable theoretical justification for the legitimacy of tyrannicide written by a Christian authority.’
    • ‘My ideas as to the exact means of tyrannicide were distinctly vague.’
    • ‘John contended that tyrannicide was a duty if it set people free for the service of God.’
    • ‘The Judith and Holofernes and the David evoke references to tyrannicide well known to the Medici and to other members of the educated elite in Florence through ancient and contemporary texts.’
    • ‘For instance, while he states that there are instances when tyrannicide is justified (for example against tyrannical usurpers), killing a prince presumed to be a tyrant is forbidden if ‘the prince is an absolute sovereign.’’
    • ‘It is in his practical views on tyrannicide and political murder that Sexby's real inheritance still haunts us.’
    • ‘Both Jean Petit and Jean Gerson picked up the Policratirus's emphasis on Judith as an exemplar of tyrannicide and cited her in the debates at Paris and Constance.’
    • ‘Classical tyrannicide was valorized because it could remove the oppressor with the minimum force.’
    • ‘Regarded as a major ancient source on tyranny and tyrannicide, it was the only text attributed to Plutarch known and taught during the fourteenth and much of the fifteenth century.’
    • ‘And here is the Christian who struggles with his participation in an act of tyrannicide.’
    • ‘The closest it comes to that, perhaps, is Marsilius of Padua's Defensor Pacis, where a defense of tyrannicide is justified as an act to restore civil society to naturally peaceful relations, not to change or revolutionize it.’
    • ‘Together, they fuel what Page DuBois calls ‘an allegorical, utopian call for tyrannicide in the name of postcapitalist, postpatriarchal future.’’
    • ‘As a political strategy there are plenty of reasons not to get too enthusiastic about tyrannicide.’
    • ‘I had my sword for company, my ally and partner in tyrannicide.’
    • ‘Moreover, tyrannicide is intrinsically interesting, involving as it does political assassination or attempted assassination.’
    1. 1.1 The killer of a tyrant.
      • ‘Attributed to the famous poet Simonides, it extolled the tyrannicides and their liberation of Athens with the words, ‘A marvelous great light shone upon Athens when Aristogeiton and Harmodios slew Hipparchus.’’
      • ‘Since Mariana is no revolutionary, he does not make it easy for would-be tyrannicides.’
      • ‘The main form this took were acts of assassination for political and politico-religious ends: the tyrannicides of Greece and Rome, the Zealots of Palestine, the Hashashin of medieval Islam.’
      • ‘Why were the tyrannicides honoured in the first place?’
      • ‘But one suspects that their looted statue of the Athenian tyrannicides was not on public view at Susa.’
      • ‘To begin with the obvious: they both depict tyrannicides.’
      • ‘The tyrannicides in ancient Greece, the Assassins and the regicides in the Middle Ages were suicide terrorists.’
      • ‘His objective in writing it was to defend the reputation of Dante, who, rather than according immortality to Cassius and Brutus as tyrannicides, had deemed them murderers and relegated them to the lowest circles of the Inferno.’
      • ‘Although Judith was a new symbol to Florence, John of Salisbury's citation of her as a paradigmatic tyrannicide made the Old Testament heroine a second exemplar.’
      • ‘The Tyrannicides were even cited as the liberators of Athens in drinking songs.’
      • ‘They had been raised on edifying tales of Greek tyrannicides that always ended in the liberation of the city.’


Mid 17th century: from French, from Latin tyrannicida ‘killer of a tyrant’, tyrannicidium ‘killing of a tyrant’ (see tyrant, -cide).