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A couple of edits ago I edited this entry to alter definition 1, to "one who takes a position or action by which he will probably be killed himself" (which I think is uncontroversial); and to add definition 4 "one who kills himself in a way which also kills others". The difference is absolutely crucial. A martyr[1] must be attacked by powerful forces which can overwhelm him; a martyr[2] can kill anybody, including children, as he instigates the killing; and he is a suicide, which is considered a sin by most religions.

Coming to actual cases, which shouldn't be in the entry but are presumably OK in talk: shortly after the WTC bombing on 11 Sep 2001 in New York, an Islamic cleric was reported as saying that Islam did not condone suicides, and that the bombers, rather than going to paradise to be regaled by 72 virgins, was condemned to repeat his death over and over for eternity.

Muke has removed definition 4, on the grounds that it repeats 1. I've said why I think this isn't so, and have reinstated 4 on reasoned grounds. I don't want to start a reversion war; perhaps anybody who still thinks 4 is either inappropriate or POV would post in martyr:Talk or pol098:talk. Obviously, if the general opinion is that definition 4 is redundant, it should be deleted.

Pol098 18:42, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

No, I removed definition 4 on the grounds that it repeats 2, "Hence, [i.e. by metaphor with a martyr sensu stricto] one who sacrifices his life, his station, or what is of great value to him, for the sake of principle or to sustain a cause." Your "new" sense is only a narrow subset of this definition: the word "martyr" is only applied to these people because they have sacrificed their lives for their cause; the killing of other people at the same time is tangential. —Muke Tever 06:19, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
While I disagree, I seem to be in the minority here, so OK, I'll say no more (eppur si muove...) Pol098 16:57, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

RFV discussion: March–July 2015[edit]

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rfv-sense: One who is killed or suffers greatly because of an identity or position, e.g., a young prince killed when his father, the king, is deposed for the purpose of preventing the restoration of the monarchy later. We already seem to include this sense at sense #2: One who sacrifices his or her life, station, or something of great personal value, for the sake of principle or to sustain a cause. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:28, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

You sure you want to RfV this? Not RfD it? Purplebackpack89 14:09, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I interpret "sacrifice" in sense 2 as conveying that the martyr had some degree of control over what happened to them, e.g. they refused to renounce their views on some matter even though they knew it meant they would be killed. Sense 4 then seems to be distinct (since the son has no control over who his father is). The questions are then (a) is sense 4 attested?, and (b) is it better to have separate senses 2 (and 3) and 4, or to combine some of them? - -sche (discuss) 16:14, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
RFV-failed. - -sche (discuss) 04:37, 15 July 2015 (UTC)