assassinate


assassinate
assassinate, assassination
1. The traditional meaning of assassinate ‘to kill an important person for political reasons’ has been extended in recent times to include any person regarded by his or her killers as a political or sectarian target, including journalists, students, and civilians on the streets, and the corresponding noun assassination has followed this tendency. Examples:

• Students at the University of Altantico in Antioquia were assassinated in front of a classroom in which they were being taught —Z Magazine, AmE 2003

• About 65 or 70 or so government officials and security forces had been targeted for assassination and random violence and killings —ABC news transcript, AusE 2004.

2. An older figurative meaning of assassinate, meaning ‘to destroy (someone's reputation)’ has also been revived:

• Those around Bush, many of whom came of age during Vietnam and almost none of whom served, have attempted to assassinate the character and insult the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with them —Whiskey Bar, AmE 2004.

The noun is especially common in the expression character assassination:

• The important thing is to end your character assassination of the manager with some magnanimity —Observer Sport Magazine, 2004.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Assassinate — As*sas sin*ate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Assassinated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Assassinating}.] [LL. assassinatus, p. p. of assassinare.] 1. To kill by surprise or secret assault; to murder by treacherous violence. [1913 Webster] Help, neighbors, my house… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Assassinate — As*sas sin*ate, n. [F. assassinat.] 1. An assassination, murder, or murderous assault. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] If I had made an assassinate upon your father. B. Jonson. [1913 Webster] 2. An assassin. [Obs.] Dryden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • assassinate — index dispatch (put to death), extinguish, kill (murder), slay Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • assassinate — (v.) 1610s, from pp. stem of M.L. assassinare (see ASSASSIN (Cf. assassin)). Of reputations, characters, etc., from 1620s. Related: Assassinated; assassinating …   Etymology dictionary

  • assassinate — murder, *kill, slay, dispatch, execute …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • assassinate — [v] murder prominent or important person bump off*, do in*, eliminate, execute, gun down, hit, kill, knock off*, liquidate, slaughter, slay; concept 252 …   New thesaurus

  • assassinate — ► VERB ▪ murder (a political or religious leader). DERIVATIVES assassination noun …   English terms dictionary

  • assassinate — [ə sas′ənāt΄] vt. assassinated, assassinating 1. to murder (esp. a politically important or prominent person) by surprise attack, usually for payment or from zealous belief 2. to harm or ruin (someone s reputation, etc.), as by slander,… …   English World dictionary

  • assassinate — verb VERB + ASSASSINATE ▪ attempt to, try to ▪ plan to, plot to ▪ He was executed in 1887 for plotting to assassinate the Tsar. PHRASES ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • assassinate — UK [əˈsæsɪneɪt] / US [əˈsæsɪˌneɪt] verb [transitive] Word forms assassinate : present tense I/you/we/they assassinate he/she/it assassinates present participle assassinating past tense assassinated past participle assassinated to kill a famous or …   English dictionary


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