What does martyr mean?

Definitions for martyr
ˈmɑr tərmar·tyr

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word martyr.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. martyr, sufferernoun

    one who suffers for the sake of principle

  2. martyrverb

    one who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty for refusing to renounce their religion

  3. martyrverb

    kill as a martyr

    "Saint Sebastian was martyred"

  4. martyr, martyrize, martyriseverb

    torture and torment like a martyr


  1. martyrnoun

    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.

    Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

  2. martyrnoun

    One who willingly accepts being put to death for adhering openly to one's religious beliefs; notably, saints canonized after martyrdom.

    Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

  3. martyrnoun

    (with a prepositional phrase of cause) One who suffers greatly and/or constantly, even involuntarily.

    Stan is a martyr to arthritis, Chris a martyr to Stan's endless moaning about it.

  4. martyrverb

    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.

  5. martyrverb

    To persecute.

    Some religious and other minorities were martyred until extinction.

  6. martyrverb

    To torment; to torture.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. MARTYRnoun

    One who by his death bears witness to the truth.

    Etymology: μάρτυϱ; martyr, French.

    Prayers and tears may serve a good man’s turn; if not to conquer as a soldier, yet to suffer as a martyr. Charles I .

    Thus could not the mouths of worthy martyrs be silenced. Brown.

    Nearer heav’n his virtues shone more bright,
    Like rising flames expanding in their height,
    The martyr ’s glory crown’d the soldier’s fight. Dryden.

    To be a martyr signifies only to witness the truth of Christ; but the witnessing of the truth was then so generally attended with persecution, that martyrdom now signifies not only to witness, but to witness by death. Robert South, Sermons.

    The first martyr for Christianity was encouraged, in his last moments, by a vision of that divine person for whom he suffered. Joseph Addison, on the Christian Religion.

    Truth’s early champion, martyr for his God. James Thomson.

  2. To Martyrverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    You could not beg for grace.
    Hark wretches, how I mean to martyr you:
    This one hand yet is left to cut your throats. William Shakespeare.

    If to every common funeral,
    By your eyes martyr’d, such grace were allow’d,
    Your face would wear not patches, but a cloud. John Suckling.


  1. Martyr

    A martyr (Greek: μάρτυς, mártys, "witness", or μαρτυρία, marturia, stem μαρτυρ-, martyr-) is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, or refusing to renounce or advocate, a religious belief or other cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an individual by an oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Insofar, the martyr is a relational figure of a society's boundary work that is produced by collective memory. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause. Most martyrs are considered holy or are respected by their followers, becoming symbols of exceptional leadership and heroism in the face of difficult circumstances. Martyrs play significant roles in religions. Similarly, martyrs have had notable effects in secular life, including such figures as Socrates, among other political and cultural examples.


  1. martyr

    A martyr is an individual who sacrifices or willingly endures severe suffering, often including death, for their beliefs, principles, or cause.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Martyrnoun

    one who, by his death, bears witness to the truth of the gospel; one who is put to death for his religion; as, Stephen was the first Christian martyr

  2. Martyrnoun

    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

  3. Martyrverb

    to put to death for adhering to some belief, esp. Christianity; to sacrifice on account of faith or profession

  4. Martyrverb

    to persecute; to torment; to torture

  5. Etymology: [AS., from L. martyr, Gr. ma`rtyr, ma`rtys, prop., a witness; cf. Skr. sm to remember, E. memory.]


  1. Martyr

    A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Martyr

    mär′tėr, n. one who by his death bears witness to the truth: one who suffers for his belief: one who suffers greatly from any cause.—v.t. to put to death for one's belief.—n. Mar′tyrdom, state of being a martyr: the sufferings or death of a martyr: torment generally.—v.t. Mar′tyrise (Browning), to offer as a sacrifice: to cause to suffer martyrdom.—adj. Martyrolog′ical.—ns. Martyrol′ogist; Martyrol′ogy, a history of martyrs: a discourse on martyrdom. [A.S.,—L.,—Gr., a witness.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. martyr

    Any man who is willing to sacrifice others for his "cause."

Editors Contribution

  1. martyr

    A witness of limitless faith that will take them to places they rather not go.

    Submitted by anonymous on December 12, 2020  

  2. martyr

    martyr is someone who was killed. often due to their religious beliefs.

    Submitted by rinat on July 17, 2019  

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How to pronounce martyr?

How to say martyr in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of martyr in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of martyr in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of martyr in a Sentence

  1. Horace Mann:

    It is more difficult, and it calls for higher energies of soul, to live a martyr than to die one.

  2. Naji Dawoud:

    There is not one corner where my two martyr brothers did not fight, if another one of us is martyred, we will continue.

  3. Jessica McFadden:

    When people arrive, I totally give them jobs and don't act the martyr. That makes everyone happy and part of the process, the most important things to do, I think, for a stress-free Thanksgiving are to pray, eat and love what you did ... and let someone else clean up.

  4. John Barth:

    It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how much we admire him.

  5. Scott Gordon:

    John's religious leaders have worked with him for a long time to help him find a place in the Mormon community, but John has turned his own departure from the faith into a socio-political issue, and himself into a self-made martyr.

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"martyr." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/martyr>.

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    applied to a fish depicted horizontally
    • A. irascible
    • B. jejune
    • C. repugnant
    • D. naiant

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