EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle French victime, from Latin victima (sacrificial animal).

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈvɪktɪm/
  • (weak vowel merger) IPA(key): /ˈvɪktəm/
  • Hyphenation: vic‧tim
  • (file)

NounEdit

victim (plural victims)

  1. One that is harmedkilled, injured, subjected to oppression, deceived, or otherwise adversely affected—by someone or something, especially another person or event, force, or condition; in particular:
    the youngest victims of the brutal war
    victim of a bad decision by a rushed and overworked judge
    • 2013 June 8, “Obama goes troll-hunting”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 55:
      According to this saga of intellectual-property misanthropy, these creatures [patent trolls] roam the business world, buying up patents and then using them to demand extravagant payouts from companies they accuse of infringing them. Often, their victims pay up rather than face the costs of a legal battle.
    • 2014, Holger H. Herwig, The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918, A&C Black (→ISBN), page 116:
      Flexibility, one of the hallmarks of German military doctrine, was a victim of the war.
    1. One who is harmed or killed by a crime or scam.
      victims of assault; the murderer's victims
      became another victim of the latest scam
      • 1838, The Lady's Book, volume 16-17, page 125:
        The villian, perceiving his danger, groped about in search of his victim, gave him another blow and disappeared.
      • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tremarn Case[1]:
        “There the cause of death was soon ascertained ; the victim of this daring outrage had been stabbed to death from ear to ear with a long, sharp instrument, in shape like an antique stiletto, which […] was subsequently found under the cushions of the hansom. […]”
      • 1980, ‎Heather M. Arden, Fools' Plays: A Study of Satire in the Sottie, page 53:
        The role of victim, whether represented by a character on stage or conveyed verbally, is the necessary counterpart of the evil-doer.
    2. One who is harmed or killed by an accident or illness.
      a fundraiser for victims of AIDS; a victim of a car crash
      • 1907, Robert Chambers, chapter 6, in The Younger Set:
        “I don't mean all of your friends—only a small proportion—which, however, connects your circle with that deadly, idle, brainless bunch—the insolent chatterers at the opera, [] the speed-mad fugitives from the furies of ennui, the neurotic victims of mental cirrhosis, […] !”
    3. One who is harmed or killed as a result of other people's biases, emotions or incompetence, or their own.
      a victim of his own pride; a victim of her own incompetence
      the newcomer never managed to make friends, a victim of the town's deep distrust of outsiders
      a victim of sexism; victims of a racist system
    4. One who is harmed or killed as a result of a natural or man-made disaster or impersonal condition.
      relief efforts to help victims of the hurricane
      victim of an optical illusion; victim of a string of bad luck
      local businesses were the main victims of the economic downturn
      • 1970 March 12, United States House Committee on Education and Labor, Summary of Legislative Action of the House Education and Labor Committee for the 91st Congress (1st Session) / Educational Technology Act of 1969: Hearing, Ninety-first Congress, Second Session on H.R. 8838 ... March 12, 1970:
        To some extent the schools and colleges are victims of conditions beyond their control: rapid population growth and mobility, country; to-city migration, unpredictable economic and social changes wrought by technology, []
      • 2012, Alisa Lebow, The Cinema of Me:
        As Ella Shohat (1988) incisively argued some years ago now, the historical role of 'victim' to Zionism's racialising and nationalising frame is one that has been shared – albeit not in identical ways – by Palestinians and Mizrahim, those Sephardic or Arab Jews whose presence was solicited for the structural and demographic efficacy of the fledgling Jewish state.
      • 2013 June 29, “High and wet”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 28:
        Floods in northern India, mostly in the small state of Uttarakhand, have wrought disaster on an enormous scale. [] Rock-filled torrents smashed vehicles and homes, burying victims under rubble and sludge.
  2. A living being which is slain and offered as a sacrifice, usually in a religious rite.
    1. (by extension, Christianity) The transfigured body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

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ReferencesEdit

  • victim at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • victim in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • victim in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.