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1. The act or action of causing death, as of a person.
2. A sudden large profit: made a killing on the stock market.
1. Causing or apt to cause death; fatal: a killing shot.
2. Thoroughly exhausting: a killing pace.
3. Informal Hilarious.

kill′ing·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. informal very tiring; exhausting: a killing pace.
2. informal extremely funny; hilarious
3. causing death; fatal
4. the act of causing death; slaying
5. informal a sudden stroke of success, usually financial, as in speculations on the stock market (esp in the phrase make a killing)
ˈkillingly adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈkɪl ɪŋ)

1. the act of a person or thing that kills.
2. the total game killed on a hunt.
3. a quick and unusually large profit or financial gain.
4. fatal or destructive.
5. exhausting: a killing pace.
6. Informal. irresistibly funny.
kill′ing•ly, adv.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


See also death.

a substance or preparation for killing mites or ticks.
a place of bloodshed, so called after the field purchased by Judas with the bribe he received for betraying Christ.
Rare. 1. the murder of one friend by another.
2. the killer of a friend.
a homicidal mania.
the killing of birds.
a substance for killing bacteria.
the act of decapitation; beheading or being beheaded. — decoilator, n.
the act of hurling from a window, especially people.
1. the act of putting to death without pain a person incurably ill or suffering great pain; mercy killing.
2. an easy, painless death. — euthanasic, adj.
1. the act of suicide.
2. a person who commits suicide.
1. the killing of one’s brother.
2. a person who has killed his brother. — fratricidal, adj.
a substance that kills fungi or retards the growth of spores.
the killing of an entire people or of a very large number of a people. — genocidal, adj.
any substance for killing germs, especially bacteria. — germicidal, adj.
1. the killing of a giant.
2. a person who kills giants.
1. a sacrifice of one hundred oxen at one time, as in ancient Greece.
2. any slaughter on a large scale; a massacre.
a substance for killing unwanted plant growth.
1. a burnt offering or sacrifice.
2. large-scale destruction by fire or other violent means.
1. a general term for murder; the killing of another human being.
2. the murderer of another. — homicidal, adj.
a mania for murder.
the process of sacrificing, espeeially by flre. — immolator, n.
1. the murder of infants.
2. a person who kills infants. — infanticidal, adj.
a substance used for killing insects. — insecticidal, adj.
the act of cutting a person’s throat. See also remedies.
the process or act of pelting with stones, sometimes as a form of execution.
the killing of kangaroos.
the act of killing something for the purpose of sacrifice.
1. the killing of one’s husband.
2. a person who has killed her husband. — mariticidal, adj.
1. the killing of one’s mother.
2. a person who has killed his mother. — matricidal, adj.
a substance that kills microbes.
a substance for killing mites. — miticidal, adj.
Obsolete, a killing or an act of killing.
1. the murder of a parent or close relative.
2. one who has killed a parent or close relative. — parricidal, adj.
1. the killing of one’s father.
2. a person who has killed his father. — patricidal, adj.
any chemical substance used for killing pests, as insects, weeds, etc.
the murder of a king. — regicide, n. — regicidal, adj.
a substance that kills rodents.
a punishment in old Persia, in which criminals were imprisoned in a log or hollow tree. The head, arms, and legs of a victim were left exposed and smeared with honey to attract insects.
1. the killing of one’s sister.
2. a person who has killed his sister. — sororicidal, adj.
a substance or preparation used for killing sperm, used in contraception. — spermicidal, adj.
1. the killing of oneself.
2. one who has killed himself. — suicidal, adj.
1. the suicide of a Hindu widow by immolation on the funeral pyre of her husband.
2. a Hindu widow who died by suttee.
an agent or preparation for killing tapeworms. — taeniacidal, teniacidal, adj.
1. the killing of a tyrant.
2. the killer of a tyrant. — tyrannicidal, adj.
1. the killing of one’s wife.
2. a person who has killed his wife. — uxoricidal, adj.
the killing of a prophet. — vaticidal, adj.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


There are several words which mean similar things to kill.

To murder someone means to kill them deliberately.

...the body of a murdered religious and political leader.

Assassinate is used to talk about the murder of an important person, often for political reasons.

The plot to assassinate Martin Luther King.

If a large number of people are murdered, the words slaughter or massacre are sometimes used.

Thirty four people were slaughtered while queuing up to cast their votes.
300 civilians are believed to have been massacred by the rebels.

Slaughter can also be used to talk about killing animals for their meat.

Chicken farms are having to slaughter their stock.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.killing - an event that causes someone to diekilling - an event that causes someone to die
fatality, human death - a death resulting from an accident or a disaster; "a decrease in the number of automobile fatalities"
2.killing - the act of terminating a lifekilling - the act of terminating a life  
ending, termination, conclusion - the act of ending something; "the termination of the agreement"
coup de grace, deathblow - the blow that kills (usually mercifully)
death - the act of killing; "he had two deaths on his conscience"
euthanasia, mercy killing - the act of killing someone painlessly (especially someone suffering from an incurable illness)
homicide - the killing of a human being by another human being
despatch, dispatch - killing a person or animal
fell - the act of felling something (as a tree)
self-annihilation, self-destruction - the act of killing yourself; "it is a crime to commit suicide"
slaughter - the killing of animals (as for food)
poisoning - the act of giving poison to a person or animal with the intent to kill
suffocation, asphyxiation - killing by depriving of oxygen
ritual killing, sacrifice - the act of killing (an animal or person) in order to propitiate a deity
electrocution - killing by electric shock
beheading, decapitation - killing by cutting off the head
genocide, race murder, racial extermination - systematic killing of a racial or cultural group
3.killing - a very large profit
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
net income, net profit, profit, profits, earnings, lucre, net - the excess of revenues over outlays in a given period of time (including depreciation and other non-cash expenses)
Adj.1.killing - very funny; "a killing joke"; "sidesplitting antics"
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
humorous, humourous - full of or characterized by humor; "humorous stories"; "humorous cartoons"; "in a humorous vein"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. (Informal) tiring, hard, testing, taxing, difficult, draining, exhausting, punishing, crippling, fatiguing, gruelling, sapping, debilitating, strenuous, arduous, laborious, enervating, backbreaking He covered the last 300 metres in around 41sec, a killing pace.
2. deadly, deathly, dangerous, fatal, destructive, lethal, mortal, murderous, death-dealing Diphtheria was a killing disease.
make a killing (Informal) profit, gain, clean up (informal), be lucky, be successful, make a fortune, strike it rich (informal), make a bomb (slang), rake it in (informal), had a windfall They have made a killing on the deal.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The crime of murdering someone:
Slang: hit.
Informal. Extremely funny:
Informal: rich.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. [blow, disease] → mortal
2. (= exhausting) [work, journey] → agotador, durísimo
3. (= funny) → divertidísimo, para morirse de (la) risa
B. N (= murder) → asesinato m; (large scale, also of animals) → matanza f
to make a killinghacer su agosto
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(= murder) → assassinat m
a brutal killing → un assassinat brutal
the husband may have carried out the killings → le mari pourrait avoir commis les assassinats
(= practice of murder) → assassinat f
to make a killing (= make money) → se remplir les poches, réussir un beau coup
tordant(e)killing fields nplcharniers mpl
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(of animals) (Hunt) → Erlegen nt; (at abattoir) → (Ab)schlachten nt
(of person)Töten nt, → Tötung f; three more killings in Belfastdrei weitere Morde or Todesopfer in Belfast
(fig) to make a killingeinen Riesengewinn machen
blow etctödlich
(= exhausting) workmörderisch (inf)
(= funny)urkomisch (inf)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. n (murder) → uccisione f; (massacre) → strage f (fam) (profit) to make a killingfare un colpaccio
2. adj (blow) → mortale (fig) (work) → estenuante (fam) (funny) → divertentissimo/a
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
That he joyed in killing, and that he killed with a joyous laugh upon his handsome lips betokened no innate cruelty.
Yes, I woke up to hear the sound of killing. I was sleeping by my husband, with him who lies there, and the children.
The soldiers saw that killing was going on, and ran up just as the slayers reached us.
Chil, the Kite, stayed and grew fat, for there was a great deal of carrion, and evening after evening he brought the news to the beasts, too weak to force their way to fresh hunting-grounds, that the sun was killing the Jungle for three days" flight in every direction.
"And who has said a word about killing him, muddlehead?" replied Danglars.
The Law of the Jungle, which never orders anything without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except when he is killing to show his children how to kill, and then he must hunt outside the hunting grounds of his pack or tribe.
Several stations which had lately been erected in the country were continually infested with savages, stealing their horses and killing the men at every opportunity.
I say further, and lay my saying to your heart--if Minerva sees fit to vouchsafe me the glory of killing both, stay your horses here and make the reins fast to the rim of the chariot; then be sure you spring Aeneas' horses and drive them from the Trojan to the Achaean ranks.
As a result a dispute arises amongst the Achaeans over the killing of Thersites, and Achilles sails to Lesbos and after sacrificing to Apollo, Artemis, and Leto, is purified by Odysseus from bloodshed.
I would not care who knew that I had killed you; the pleasure of killing you would more than compensate for any punishment they might inflict upon me.
Then they went after Six-Fingers, up his tree, and, while they were killing him and his grown son, the rest of us ran away.