from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles.
- n. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.
- n. One who endures great suffering: a martyr to arthritis.
- n. One who makes a great show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy.
- transitive v. To make a martyr of, especially to put to death for devotion to religious beliefs.
- transitive v. To inflict great pain on; torment.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. One who willingly accepts being put to death for adhering openly to one's religious beliefs; notably, saints canonized after martyrdom.
- n. One who sacrifices his or her life, station, or what is of great value to him or her, for the sake of principle or to sustain a cause.
- n. One who suffers greatly and/or constantly, even involuntarily.
- v. To make someone into a martyr by putting him or her to death for adhering to, or acting in accordance with, some belief, especially religious; to sacrifice on account of faith or profession.
- v. To persecute.
- v. To torment; to torture.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. One who, by his death, bears witness to the truth of the gospel; one who is put to death for his religion.
- n. Hence, one who sacrifices his life, his station, or what is of great value to him, for the sake of principle, or to sustain a cause.
- transitive v. To put to death for adhering to some belief, esp. Christianity; to sacrifice on account of faith or profession.
- transitive v. To persecute; to torment; to torture.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Originally, a witness; one who bears testimony to his faith.
- n. One who willingly suffers death rather than surrender his religious faith; one who bears witness to the sincerity of his faith by submitting to death in asserting it; specifically, one of those Christians who in former times were put to death because they would not renounce their religious belief: as, Stephen was the first martyr (called the protomartyr); the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.
- n. One who suffers death or grievous loss in defense or on behalf of any belief or cause, or in consequence of supporting it: as, he died a martyr to his political principles or to his devotion to science.
- n. Hence One who suffers greatly from any cause; one who is afflicted; a victim of misfortune, calamity, or disease: as, a martyr to gout, or to tight lacing.
- n. [⟨ martyr, v.] An old instrument of torture in which the victim was subjected to agonizing pressure.
- n. In wine-making, a wooden box used for pressing grapes.
- To put to death as a punishment for adherence to some religious belief, especially for adherence to Christianity; hence, to put to death for the maintaining of any obnoxious belief or cause.
- To put to death for any cause; destroy, as in revenge or retaliation; torture.
- To persecute as a martyr; afflict; despoil; torment.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. one who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty for refusing to renounce their religion
- v. kill as a martyr
- v. torture and torment like a martyr
- n. one who suffers for the sake of principle
Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Late Greek martur, from Greek martus, martur-, witness.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old English, itself from Latin martyr, from Ancient Greek μάρτυρ (martyr), later form of μάρτυς (martus, "witness"). (Wiktionary)