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From either French assassin or Italian assassino, from Arabic أَسَاسِيِّين(ʔasāsiyyīn, people who are faithful to the foundation [of the faith]) and the folkloric etymology Arabic حَشَّاشِين(ḥaššāšīn, hashish users; low-lives).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈsæsɪn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æsɪn


assassin (plural assassins)

  1. (historical) A member of the Nizari Ismaili Muslim community of the Alamut Period.
  2. Someone who intentionally kills a person, especially a professional who kills a public or political figure.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, 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.
    • 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, On the Mindless Menace of Violence:
      What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause can ever be stilled by an assassin’s bullet.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist[1], 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.
  3. Any ruthless killer.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


assassin (third-person singular simple present assassins, present participle assassining, simple past and past participle assassined)

  1. (nonstandard) To assassinate.




From either Arabic حَشَّاشِين(ḥaššāšīn, hashish users) or أَسَاسِيُّون(ʔasāsiyyūn).



assassin m (plural assassins, feminine assassine)

  1. an assassin or other murderer


assassin (feminine assassine, masculine plural assassins, feminine plural assassines)

  1. deadly; fatal; that kills

Further reading[edit]