Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Murder


Quick Summary of Murder

The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

Video Guide For Murder

What is the dictionary definition of Murder?

Dictionary Definition

  1. countable An act of deliberate killing of another being, especially a human.
  2. uncountable The crime of deliberate killing of another human.
  3. uncountable, legal, in jurisdictions which use the felony murder rule The commission of an act which abets the commission of a crime the commission of which causes the death of a human.

n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority. In those clear circumstances, this is first-degree murder. By statute, many states consider a killing in which there is torture, movement of the person before the killing (kidnapping) or the death of a police officer or prison guard, or it was as an incident to another crime (as during a hold-up or rape), to be first-degree murder, with or without premeditation and with malice presumed. Second-degree murder is such a killing without premeditation, as in the heat of passion or in a sudden quarrel or fight. Malice in second-degree murder may be implied from a death due to the reckless lack of concern for the life of others (such as firing a gun into a crowd or bashing someone with any deadly weapon). Depending on the circumstances and state laws, murder in the first or second degree may be chargeable to a person who did not actually kill, but was involved in a crime with a partner who actually did the killing or someone died as the result of the crime. Example: In a liquor store stick-up in which the clerk shoots back at the hold-up man and kills a bystander, the armed robber can be convicted of at least second-degree murder. A charge of murder requires that the victim must die within a year of the attack. Death of an unborn child who is “quick” (fetus is moving) can be murder, provided there was premeditation, malice and no legal authority. Thus, abortion is not murder under the law. Example: Jack Violent shoots his pregnant girlfriend, killing the fetus. Manslaughter, both voluntary and involuntary, lacks the element of malice aforethought.

Full Definition of Murder

Murder is the illegal killing of another person with the intent to kill. Under current law, murder is classified as murder in the first (premeditation) or murder in the second (sudden and instantaneous intent to kill). Murder differs from manslaughter whereby a person kills someone without intent or malice.

State laws vary, but generally, murder in the first degree is punished by the death penalty or imprisonment for life. Some states do not have death penalties. Murder in the first degree is premeditated, willful and deliberate and is done while committing a variety of crimes such as arson, criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third-degree, child abuse in the first degree, robbery, carjacking, breaking and entering of a dwelling, home invasion in the first or second degree, larceny of any kind, extortion, and kidnapping. Convicts who murder a police officer while they are engaged in the performance of their duties are also charged with first-degree murder.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Murder. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
March 31, 2023
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Murder. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: March 31, 2023).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Murder. Retrieved March 31, 2023
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Murder are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th November, 2021 | 0 Views.