from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who attacks and kills victims one by one in a series of incidents.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who commits multiple (more than two) murders, especially similar ones with no obvious motive over a period of time with a "cooling-off" period between each murder.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who murders more than three victims one at a time in a relatively short interval


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • At first no one had suspected serial killer Ted Bundy, a good-looking guy with a degree in psychology and a bright political future.


  • She pushed the volume button upward, flipped through the channels, and found an all-news station that was reporting on the serial killer terrorizing the citizens of New Orleans.


  • "It's my guess that the murderer is a serial killer operating in Mooseville."

    The Cat Who Went Underground

  • The prosecutor on the case was William Kunkle, one of the top attorneys in the office who later would go on to prosecute serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

    Defending the Damned

  • My all-time favorite serial killer was the never-captured Zodiac, the San Francisco–based mastermind who bragged to newspapers about his murders through a byzantine code and may have actually killed people because of his interest in math.2 Somehow, that sounded like something I would come up with.

    Chuck Klosterman on Media and Culture

  • Woody told me that he was planning to leave the job soon, most likely after he finished defending suspected serial killer Paul Runge.

    Defending the Damned

  • For example, the serial killer David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam, claimed that he was following instructions from “father Sam,” and that he was a victim of demonic possession.

    The Sacred Promise

  • Her image vanished as they went back to the anchorwoman, who said, "Jack, wasn't it believed that Elizabeth Beck was the victim of serial killer Elroy KillRoy Kellerton?"

    Tell No One


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