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From either French assassin or Italian assassino, from Arabic حَشَّاشِين (ḥaššāšīn, hashish users).



assassin (plural assassins)

  1. (historical) A member of a Muslim group who employed assassination of key enemy figures as their tactic.
    • 1603, John Florio, transl.; Michel de Montaigne, The Essayes, [], printed at London: [] Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      , II.29:
      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 [].
    (by extension, historical) A member of the Nizari Ismaili sect of Islam
  2. Someone who intentionally kills a person, especially a professional who kills a public or political figure.
    • 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.
  3. Any ruthless killer.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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 (ʾasāsiyyūn).



assassin m (plural assassins)

  1. an assassin


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

  1. deadly; fatal; that kills

Further reading[edit]