Hephaestus's Blog

Word of the Month: Assassin
April 9, 2015, 15:33
Filed under: Words of the Months

Etymology: From Arabic hashishiyyin “hashish-users,” plural of hashishiyy. The pluralizing –in suffix was adopted into the singular word for some reason.

Definition: A person who kills someone of importance.

Famous assassins include the trinonymous presidential assassins John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, and Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination* of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie caused World War I. Others done in by assassins include Henry III and Henry IV of France, Alexander II of Russia, and rather too many Roman Emperors.


*An assassin is not one who assassinates; the word assassination first appears in Macbeth, written in 1605, after assassin had already been in the language for eighty years (plenty of time to be sufficiently assimilated for such backformation to occur.)

Please let me know if there are any words you would like featured by posting a comment on this post.

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Learned some thing new!
ThAnks hep.:)

How about word cacaphony.

Comment by eileen

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