contract killing


Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I've got a question that's been weighing on my mind for a very long time now. I would like one or other of our native speakers to help me and I'll do my best to describe the situation:

A contract killing. It takes at least three: the victim, the killer and (???). What do you call the one who pays for the killing to be done? The customer?

One more question on the same subject: what verb do you use to describe the following act:
Mr. A: Here is ten grand, Mr B. I want Mr. Smith dead by tomorrow.
Mr. B. OK, he is as good as dead.

What has Mr A just done?

Thank you so much.
Last edited:
  • catlady60

    Senior Member
    English-US (New York City)
    The person who hires a killer is technically commiting the crime of solicitation of murder, the onewho's putting a hit out on the victim. The guy who carries out the contract killing is also known as the hit man, or a hit squad if it's a group who's hired to do the killing.


    American English
    That sentence doesn't sound right. If we don't know the contractor for the active voice, we can say "There is a contract out on Smith."

    It's possible for it to be "known on the street" that "someone" has "put out a contract" on Smith, but not who that person's name. For most people, it would be better not to know.


    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    In general, the person who performs the service is the contractor. A hired killer is sometimes called a "contract killer". The one who pays the contractor is the "employer" in more general usage, or (from the contractor's point of view) the client.

    In this specific situation, I guess we have the victim, the contract killer, and... hmm. I see your problem. I can't think of any one-word answer. The one who put out the contract, I guess.


    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Do you mean to say the hitman and the contractor are one and the same person?
    Yes, I do. In my experience as a translator, the contractor is always the one who performs the service, not the one who pays for the service. I know it's counter-intuitive. :(


    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    For me, the use of "client" or "employer" depends on the point of view of the sentence. For complete clarity, I would say "the person who ordered the hit" or "the person who put out the contract".

    Should the situation arise, that is. :rolleyes:
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