ETYM as., from Latin martyr, Greek martyr, martys, prop., a witness; cf. Skr. smor to remember, Eng. memory.
1. One who suffers for the sake of principle; SYN. sufferer.
2. One who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty for refusing to renounce their religion.
One who voluntarily suffers death for refusing to renounce a religious faith. The first recorded Christian martyr was St Stephen, who was killed in Jerusalem shortly after the apostles began to preach.