assassin


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as·sas·sin

 (ə-săs′ĭn)
n.
1. One who murders by surprise attack, especially one who carries out a plot to kill a prominent person.
2. Assassin A member of a militant subgroup of Ismailis that in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries carried out political assassinations directed especially against Seljuk rule.

[French, from Medieval Latin assassīnus, from Arabic ḥaššāšīn, pl. of ḥaššāš, hashish user, from ḥašīš, hashish; see hashish.]
Word History: The history of the word assassin shows how legends can influence the development of words as powerfully as facts. European legends about a murderous, drug-crazed sect called the Assassins grew up around the Nizaris, a group of Ismaili Shi'ite Muslims that held strongholds in Iran and Syria from the 11th to the 13th century. The Nizaris opposed the rule of the Seljuk dynasty and the Abbasid caliphs, who were Sunni and regarded the Nizaris as unorthodox outcasts. Sunni accounts of the Nizaris accused them of all sorts of irreligious practices, and one term of abuse applied to the Nizaris was the Arabic word ḥaššāšīn, meaning "hashish users." Reliable sources, however, offer no evidence of hashish use by Nizaris. The Nizaris mounted resistance to this persecution, and one of their most formidable weapons against the Seljuks was the threat of sudden execution by secret agents. Attacks on several leaders among the Crusaders were also attributed to Nizari agents. When the Crusaders returned to Europe, they embellished upon what they had heard about the Nizaris from the group's enemies and told sensational stories about the ḥaššāšīn or Assassins. Marco Polo spun a tale of how young Assassins were given a potion and made to yearn for paradise—their reward for dying in action—by being given a life of sensual pleasure before their secret missions. As the legends spread, the word ḥaššāšīn passed through Italian and French and appeared in English as assassin in the 1500s, already with meanings like "treacherous killer."

assassin

(əˈsæsɪn)
n
a murderer, esp one who kills a prominent political figure
[C16: from Medieval Latin assassīnus, from Arabic hashshāshīn, plural of hashshāsh one who eats hashish]

Assassin

(əˈsæsɪn)
n
(Historical Terms) a member of a secret sect of Muslim fanatics operating in Persia and Syria from about 1090 to 1256, murdering their victims, usually Crusaders

as•sas•sin

(əˈsæs ɪn)

n.
1. a murderer, esp. one who kills a politically prominent person for fanatical or monetary reasons.
2. (cap.) one of an order of Muslim fanatics, active in Persia and Syria c1090–1272, whose chief object was to assassinate Crusaders.
[1525–35; < Medieval Latin assassinī (pl.) < Arabic ḥashshāshīn literally, eaters of hashish]

assassin

- Thought by some to derive from an Arabic word meaning "hashish user," as members of an Islamic sect in various countries during the time of the Crusades (13th century) ate hashish to intoxicate themselves before setting out to assasinate enemy leaders.
See also related terms for country.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.assassin - a murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a surprise attack and often is hired to do the deedassassin - a murderer (especially one who kills a prominent political figure) who kills by a surprise attack and often is hired to do the deed; "his assassins were hunted down like animals"; "assassinators of kings and emperors"
political science, politics, government - the study of government of states and other political units
liquidator, manslayer, murderer - a criminal who commits homicide (who performs the unlawful premeditated killing of another human being)
2.assassin - a member of a secret order of Muslims (founded in the 12th century) who terrorized and killed Christian Crusadersassassin - a member of a secret order of Muslims (founded in the 12th century) who terrorized and killed Christian Crusaders
Moslem, Muslim - a believer in or follower of Islam

assassin

noun murderer, killer, slayer, liquidator, executioner, hit man (slang), eliminator (slang), hatchet man (slang) He memorized the number of the assassin's car.
Translations
مُغْتال، قاتِل
atentátníkvrah
snigmorder
salamurhaaja
launmorðingimorîingi
vrah

assassin

[əˈsæsɪn] Nasesino/a m/f

assassin

[əˈsæsɪn] nassassin m

assassin

nAttentäter(in) m(f), → Mörder(in) m(f)

assassin

[əˈsæsɪn] nassassino/a

assassinate

(əˈsӕsineit) verb
to murder, especially for political reasons. The president was assassinated by terrorists.
asˌsassiˈnation noun
asˈsassin noun
a person who assassinates.
References in classic literature ?
The queen was bound to hang him for killing her kinsman, but I would not allow it: it was no crime to kill an assassin.
Then he added mournfully, "But I wish I could have been saved the shame of meeting an assassin on the field on honor.
Earnshaw accomplished this ere his guest reached the front; he then came and brought his chair to the other side of my table, leaning over it, and searching in my eyes for a sympathy with the burning hate that gleamed from his: as he both looked and felt like an assassin, he couldn't exactly find that; but he discovered enough to encourage him to speak.
I had the conscience of an assassin, and was haunted by a vague sense of enormous wickedness.
Strike," he added to an executioner who was by, "and rid me of this assassin.
Guardsmen, officers, courtiers, servants, and slaves ran helter-skelter through the corridors and apartments carrying messages and orders, and searching for signs of the assassin.
I am an assassin, then, and not an officer of justice
The assassin had escaped through the window which looked upon the bed.
He could not be an assassin, and it was repugnant to Monk to believe him to be a spy, but there was sufficient finesse and at the same time firmness in Athos to lead Monk to fancy he was a conspirator.
But it might have been an assassin that pulled the bell ready to kill a poor harmless woman.
I remembered the case well, for it was one in which Holmes had taken an interest on account of the peculiar ferocity of the crime and the wanton brutality which had marked all the actions of the assassin.
If I were to tell Hoggs or Halkett that old Jink was an assassin, they would almost die of laughter before my eyes.