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.
- 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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