From either French assassin or Italian assassino, from Arabic أَسَاسِيِّين (ʾasāsiyyīn, “people who are faithful to the foundation [of the faith]”) and the folkloric etymology Arabic حَشَّاشِين (ḥaššāšīn, “hashish users; low-lives”).
assassin (plural assassins)
- (historical) A member of the Nizari Ismaili Muslim community of the Alamut Period.
- 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 29, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes […], book II, London: […] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821:
- The Assassines, a nation depending of Phœnicia, are esteemed among the Mahometists of a soveraigne devotion and puritie of maners; they hold, that the readiest and shortest way to gaine Paradise, is to kill some one of a contrary religion […].
- Someone who intentionally kills a person, especially a professional who kills a public or political figure.
- 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 233:
- The hand that held the bond of so many jarring interests lay powerless beneath the pall. The perils of war had been about him, and the midnight assassin had watched his path; yet he died quietly in his bed.
- 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55:
- Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.
- Any ruthless killer.
- See also Thesaurus:killer
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