Kill, murder, slay, assassinate

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by 涼宮, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Hello there!

    I am wondering if there are more languages out there that have those 4 distinctions or more to say ''kill'' like English does. How many verbs do you have for saying '''kill'' and if they have any special nuance? I'm not looking for euphemisms but verbs that indicate plain killing.

    To kill= to end someone's life, it may be by accident or not.
    To murder= to kill a human being, unlawfully and with malicious intention.
    To slay= to kill violently (not usually used in modern English except in fairy tales or video games)
    To assassinate= to murder a public or political figure.

    In Spanish we have 2 verbs: matar and asesinar. Matar =to kill, asesinar= to murder. We don't have 'slay' or 'assassinate'.

    In Japanese you have mainly 5:

    斬る kiru = to kill a human using a blade (sword, knife, etc.)
    殺す korosu = to kill/murder
    虐殺する gyakusatsu suru = to slay (tyrannize + kill; it can also mean massive killing)
    暗殺する ansatsu suru = to assassinate (darkness + kill)
    枯らす karasu= to kill (vegetation)
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    1-To kill:
    1A/ «Σκοτώνω» [sko'tono] a derivation from the Classical verb «σκοτόω/σκοτῶ» skŏ'tŏō [uncontracted]/ skŏ'tō [contracted] --> lit. to darken, since Homer, to kill. PIE base *skot-, shadow, darkness (cf. Eng. shadow; Ger. schatten; Nor. skodda).
    1B/ «Φονεύω» [fo'nevo] a Classical verb «φονεύω» pʰŏ'neuō --> to kill, in Ancient Greek also, to murder. PIE base *gʷʰen-, to slay, kill (cf. Skt हन्ति (hanti), to strike; Rus. гнать, to drive; Arm. գան (gan), beating).
    1A is what is mostly used in the vernacular, 1B is more formal and considered bookish.
    In Ancient Greek the verb was «ἀποκτείνω» ăpŏ'kteinō or its earlier form, «ἀποκτείνυμι» ăpŏ'kteinūmĭ --> to kill, slay, put to death.
    2-To murder: «Δολοφονώ» [ðolofo'no] a Classical verb «δολοφονέω/δολοφονῶ» dŏlŏpʰŏ'nĕō [uncontracted]/ dŏlŏpʰŏ'nō [contracted] --> to slay by treachery; compound, masculine noun «δόλος» 'dŏlŏs, in MG ['ðolos] --> trick, cunning, stratagem, treachery (PIE base *del-, to recount, count; cf. Lat. dolus > Sp. dolo; Eng. tale; Ger. zahlen) + masculine noun «φόνος» 'pʰŏnŏs, in MG ['fonos] --> murder.
    3-To slay:
    3A/ «Θανατώνω» [θana'tono] a derivation from the Classical verb «θανατόω/θανατῶ» tʰănă'tŏō [uncontracted]/ tʰănă'tō [contracted] --> to put to death, slay. From the masculine noun «θάνατος» 'tʰănătŏs, in MG ['θanatos] --> death (PIE base *dʰwene-, to disappear, die; cf. Skt. ध्वान्त (dhvanta), darkness).
    3B/ «Μακελλεύω» [mace'levo] a Medieval verb, which derives from the Classical neuter noun «μακελλεῖον» măkĕl'leiŏn --> slaughterhouse (Lat. laniatorium) with obscure etymology.
    4-To assassinate: We use «δολοφονώ» [ðolofo'no] (see murder).

    The killer is «φονέας» [fo'] -colloquially, «φονιάς» [fo'ɲas]- (masc.), «φόνισσα» ['fonisa] (fem.); the slayer is «μακελλάρης» [mace'laris] (masc.), «μακελλάρισσα» [mace'larisa] (fem.), while the murderer and the assassin is «δολοφόνος» [ðolo'fonos] (masc. & fem.)
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  3. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    In French, more or less as in Spanish, we only have:
    "tuer" (kill / slay / matar)
    "assassiner" (murder / (assassinate))
    We also have
    "occire", which is a literary term for "tuer". It conjures up images of princes, princesses, knights and dragons to me :D
  4. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish we have:

    "öldürmek" (kill)
    "katletmek" (slay)

    For murder and assassinate we use phrases:
    cinayet işlemek (to commit a murder)
    suikast yapmak / suikastta bulunmak (lit. to make an assassination)
  5. Ilmen

    Ilmen Senior Member

    Français, France.

    I've never encountered this one, you taught me something. :) The WR dictionnary marks it as an archaic word, while my (main) physical dictionnary say it's either literary or for joking, and that it is now only used in the infinitive or the past participle form "occis(e)".
    My dictionnary defines it as "faire mourir, tuer", and says that it comes from the Latin "occidere".
  6. Selyd Senior Member

    In Ukrainian:
    To kill = to end someone's life, it may be by accident ornot.
    Загинути, згинути.
    To murder= to kill a human being, unlawfully and with malicious intention.
    Вбити, забити, згубити, скоїтивбивство, рішити, упорати, заколоти,зарізати, скарати, умертвити.
    To slay= to kill violently (not usually used in modern English except in fairytales or video games).
    To assassinate= to murder a public or political figure.
    Вчинити замах.
  7. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Döda - kill
    Mörda - murder
    Dräpa - slay
    Lönnmörda (murder in secret) - assassinate

    Avliva - euthanize, destroy (about animals), but can also be used for humans, especially when talking about legal executions (avliva genom hängning = to hang somebody)
    Ha ihjäl - to kill, especially if killing someone accidentally, "köra ihäl en fotgängare" (kill a pedestrian), or in a phrase such as "ska du ha ihjäl oss alla" (are you trying to kill us all) and "skrämma ihäl någon" (scare/frighten someone to death)
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  8. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    In German:

    To kill= töten

    To murder= ermorden
    To slay= abschlachten (related to "schlachten=to slaughter)
    To assassinate= no verb; the noun is "das Attentat" - It uis usually rendered as "einen Mordanschlag verüben" (="to commit an assasination") in German.
  9. e2-e4 X Senior Member

    There is no difference among them all in Russian. The stylistically neutral perfective verb is "убить", the imperfective one is "убивать".
  10. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Sa Tagalog (in Tagalog): 1.) To kill= patayin 2.)To murder= kitilin 3.) To slay= utasin 4.) To assasinate= Paslangin The common verb is "Patayin" that may represent all these 4 words in Filipino.
  11. almostfreebird

    almostfreebird Senior Member

    Born and raised in Japón, soy japonés

    karasu means crow:

    The crow has flown away.
  12. 涼宮

    涼宮 Senior Member

    Sbaeneg/Castellano (Venezuela)
    Yes, but not with the kanji I gave, here it's not the animal, for instance you can say: 樹木を枯らす jumoku wo karasu =to kill trees.
  13. Montesacro Senior Member

    In Italian we have:

    uccidere, ammazzare, accoppare (in increasing degree of informality, I should say): to kill
    assassinare: to assassinate / to murder
    trucidare: to slay
  14. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    Excluding synonyms, here's a list of verbs in Arabic (all conjugated for the 3rd person masculine singular perfect):

    أمات ʼamāta (S-stem, root mwt) to cause death (akin to English deaden with the meaning to deprive of life)
    قتل qatala (G-stem, root qtl) to kill (neutral), also used to mean to murder.
    اغتال 'iġtāla (Gt-stem, root ġyl) to assassinate
    نحر naḥara (G-stem, root nḥr) to slay, its reflexive form انتحر 'intaḥara (Gt-stem) means to commit suicide.
    وأد waʼada (G-stem, root wʼd) to commit infanticide
    أباد ʼabāda (S-stem, root byd) to exterminate, used for genocides and such.
    ذبح ḏabaḥa (G-stem, root bḥ) means also to slay, but it's used (along with its intensive form, and the intensive form of قتل qatala) to mean to commit a massacre. A massacre is called مذبحة maḏbaḥa or مجزرة majzara.

    Arabic has an interesting list of words which are commonly (not exclusively though) used when death is attributed to God:
    أمات ʼamāta which is neutral
    توفى tawaffā (tD-stem, root wfy) has a positive connotation (good death)
    أهلك ʼahlaka (S-stem, root hlk) has a negative connotation (bad death)
    أفنى ʼafnā (S-stem, root fny) to destroy or exterminate
  15. Ilmen

    Ilmen Senior Member

    Français, France.

    This reminds me, in French there is also a verb "trucider".
    In French, in addition to "tuer", "assasiner", "occire", "trucider", "abattre" etc, we can also mention more colloquial verbs such as "zigouiller" (translated as "do in" in the WR dictionary).
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  16. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    Your list is correct, but 'to assassinate' HAS a German equivalent. The word is 'meucheln' and the corresponding noun is 'der Meuchelmord'.
  17. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew has many words for this, some are cognates of the ones rayloom listed for Arabic, some are different.

    أمات ʼamāta (S-stem, root mwt) to cause death - Hebrew להמית lehamit = to cause death, root mwt
    قتل qatala (G-stem, root qtl) to kill - Hebrew לקטול liqtol = to kill, root qtl
    اغتال 'iġtāla (Gt-stem, root ġyl) to assassinate
    نحر naḥara (G-stem, root nḥr) to slay, Hebrew לנחור linḥor = to butcher an animal, root nḥr
    وأد waʼada (G-stem, root wʼd) to commit infanticide
    أباد ʼabāda (S-stem, root byd) to exterminate
    ذبح ḏabaḥa (G-stem, root bḥ) means also to slay - Hebrew לטבוח litboaḥ = to slay, root tbḥ.

    להרוג laharog = to kill, root hrg
    לרצוח lirtzoaḥ = to murder, root rtz (tz is one consonant)
    להתאבד lehitabed = to commit a suicide, also להאביד leha'avid= to cause fatal end or destruction, root 'bd
    לשחוט lishḥot = to butcher or kill violently, root shḥt (sh is one consonant)
    להקריב lehaqriv = to sacrifice, root qrb
    לזבוח lizboaḥ = to sacrifice, root zbḥ (maybe this and not tbḥ is the cognate of Arabic ḏbḥ?)
    לחסל leḥasel = to eliminate or assassinate (slang), root ḥsl
    להתנקש lehitnaqesh = assassinate, root nqsh (sh is one consonant)

    I must have missed some more.
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: doden, vermoorden, meaning 'to kill' (anyone, also animals) and 'to murder'.
    EXTRA :
    - afmaken, ombrengen: refer to murdering people deliberately -- and interestingly both verbs consist of a main, general verb and a preposition that 'makes' the meaning (!): af- is like down (making sure someone is down, and dead, neutralized), om- is like round, around, turned over (ombrengen - to bring someone in such a situation that he is so to speak 'turned around', upside down -- cf. omkeren = turn around)
    - slachten, slaughter : (brutal) killing of animals and of people
    - uitschakelen (to switch out), mollen, to make die (mol = dead in argot): more like 'to eliminate'
    - uitroeien (to root out literally), to exterminate (a people as a whole)
    - etc.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  19. Hamlet2508 Senior Member

    What about annihilate , decimate or truncate then ?
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  20. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Annihilate: «Eξολοθρεύω» [eksolo'θrevo] which derives from the Classical Greek verb «ἐξολεθρεύω» ĕksŏlĕ'tʰreuō --> to annihilate, utterly destroy; compound, prefix and preposition «ἐκ-» (which becomes «ἐξ-» when the following word begins with a vowel) --> out, out of (PIE base *eghs, out) + Classical masc. noun «ὄλεθρος» 'ŏlĕtʰrŏs (in Modern Greek pronunciation: ['oleθros]) --> ruin, destruction, death (with obsure etymology).
    Decimate: «Αποδεκατίζω» [apoðeka'tizo] a Hellenistic verb «ἀποδεκατίζω» ăpŏdĕkă'tīzō --> lit. to tithe, take a tenth of, metaph. to decimate; compound, prefix and preposition «ἀπὸ» ă'pŏ --> from, away from (PIE base *apo-, off) + verb «δεκατεύω» dĕkă'teuō or «δεκατίζω» dĕkă'tīzō --> to exact tithe from someone, from «δέκα» 'dĕkă --> indecl. numeral ten (PIE base *déḱm̥t, ten).
    Exterminate: See «εξολοθρεύω».
    Extinguish: «Εξοντώνω» [ekson'dono] a modern word (constructed in 1761); compound, prefix and preposition «ἐκ-» + neuter present participle of verb «εἰμὶ» (to be), «ὄν» ŏn.
    Α) «Αυτοκτονώ» [aftokto'nο] which is a Classical verb «αὐτοκτονέω/αὐτοκτονῶ» autŏktŏ'nĕō [uncontracted]/autŏktŏ'nō [contracted] --> to slay myself; compound, combining form of self, «αὐτο-» + verb «κτείνω» 'kteinō* --> to kill, slay (in Modern Greek only in compounds) with obscure etymology (some philologists see a link with the Skt. क्षीण (ksina), injured).
    B) «Αυτοχειριάζομαι» [aftoçiri'azome] --> to kill myself with my own hand which derives from the Classical Greek verb «αὐτοχειρίζω» autŏxei'rīzō --> to commit murder with one's own hand; note that in MG the verb is in mediopassive voice.
    A is used in the colloquial language, B is bookish and used rarely.

    *The combining form of the verb «κτείνω» 'kteinō, «-κτονία» -ktŏ'niă is used to form feminine compound nouns that describe the killing of persons or living beings in general, indicated by the first component of the word, e.g. «γενοκτονία» [ʝenokto'nia] (genocide), «αδελφοκτονία» [aðelfokto'nia] (fratricide), «πατροκτονία» [patrokto'nia] (patricide), «μητροκτονία» [mitrokto'nia] (matricide), «μυοκτονία» [mi.okto'nia] (raticide), «τυραννοκτονία» [tiranokto'nia] (tyrannicide), «μικροβιοκτονία» [mikrovi.okto'nia] (microbicide) etc.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  21. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    In common Russian usage, we only have убить (ubit' = to kill) and умертвить (a very rare, obsolete, bookish word for 'to kill'), plus some verbs referring to specific ways of killing: застрелить (zastrelit') - to kill with a gunshot, зарезать (zarezat') - to kill by stabbing etc. There are many other synonyms, though: прикончить, угробить, прибить, кокнуть, убрать etc. but they are all slangish and you aren't going to hear them used outside informal contexts.
  22. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    I'd also like to add: telef etmek, which is used for killing groups of animals, especially birds and poultry.

    That's where the occident comes from: C'est là où « meurt » le soleil.

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