Murder of a public figure by surprise attack.
Murder, usually of a political, royal, or public person. The term derives from the order of the Assassins, a Muslim sect that, in the 11th and 12th centuries, murdered officials to further its political ends.
ETYM Old Eng. deth, death, AS. deáth; akin to OS. dôth, Dutch dood, German tod, Icel. dauthi, Swed. and Dan. död, Goth. dauthus; from a verb meaning to die. Related to Die, Dead.
Cessation of all life functions, so that the molecules and structures associated with living things become disorganized and indistinguishable from similar molecules found in nonliving things. In medicine, a person is pronounced dead when the brain ceases to control the vital functions, even if breathing and heartbeat are maintained artificially.
Death used to be pronounced with the permanent cessation of heartbeat, but the advent of life-support equipment has made this point sometimes difficult to determine. For removal of vital organs in transplant surgery, the World Health Organization in 1968 set out that a potential donor should exhibit no brain–body connection, muscular activity, blood pressure, or ability to breathe spontaneously.
In religious belief, death may be seen as the prelude to rebirth (as in Hinduism and Buddhism); under Islam and Christianity, there is the concept of a day of judgment and consignment to heaven or hell; Judaism concentrates not on an afterlife but on survival through descendants who honor tradition.
Living organisms expend large amounts of energy preventing their complex molecules from breaking up; cellular repair and replacement are vital processes in multicellular organisms. At death this energy is no longer available, and the processes of disorganization become inevitable.
Individual cells can die in two ways. Necrosis is the result of an accident, when as a result of poisoning, heat or a lack of oxygen, a cell swells up, loses its integrity and dies. Aptosis is a biologically controlled process, when a cell shrinks and its components are digested by neighboring cells; for example, when a tadpole loses its tail. Biologists have a problem in explaining the phenomenon of death. If proteins, other complex molecules, and whole cells can be repaired or replaced, why cannot a multicellular organism be immortal? The most favored explanation is an evolutionary one. Organisms must die in order to make way for new ones, which, by virtue of sexual reproduction, may vary slightly in relation to the previous generation. Most environments change constantly, if slowly; without this variation organisms would be unable to adapt to the changes.
1. The absence of life or state of being dead.
2. The act of killing.
3. The end of life; continuing until dead; SYN. last.
4. The event of dying or departure from life; SYN. decease.
5. The permanent end of all life functions in an organism or part of an organism.
6. The time when something ends; SYN. dying, demise.
ETYM French, from Latin homicidium, from homicida a man slayer; homo man + caedere to cut, kill. Related to Homage, Concise, Shed.
In law, the killing of a human being. This may be unlawful, lawful, or excusable, depending on the circumstances. Unlawful homicides include murder, manslaughter, infanticide, and causing death by dangerous driving (vehicular homicide). Lawful homicide occurs where, for example, a police officer is justified in killing a criminal in the course of apprehension. Excusable homicide occurs when a person is killed in self-defense or by accident.
1. The killing of one human being by another.
2. One who kills another; a murderer.
Unlawful killing of a human being without malice.
In English law, the unlawful killing of a human being in circumstances less culpable than murder—for example, when the killer suffers extreme provocation, is in some way mentally ill (diminished responsibility), did not intend to kill but did so accidentally in the course of another crime or by behaving with criminal recklessness, or is the survivor of a genuine suicide pact that involved killing the other person.
ETYM Old Eng. morder, morther, as. morthor, from morth murder.
Unlawful premeditated killing of a human being; SYN. homicide, slaying.
Unlawful killing of one person by another. In the us, first-degree murder requires proof of premeditation; second-degree murder falls between first-degree murder and manslaughter.
If the killer can show provocation by the victim (action or words that would make a reasonable person lose self-control) or diminished responsibility (an abnormal state of mind caused by illness, injury, or mental subnormality), the charge may be reduced to a less serious one. See also assassination and homicide.