Webster 1913 Edition



: cf. F.
A living being sacrificed to some deity, or in the performance of a religious rite; a creature immolated, or made an offering of.
Led like a
, to my death I’ll go.
A person or thing destroyed or sacrificed in the pursuit of an object, or in gratification of a passion;
as, a
to jealousy, lust, or ambition
A person or living creature destroyed by, or suffering grievous injury from, another, from fortune or from accident;
as, the
of a defaulter; the
of a railroad accident
Hence, one who is duped, or cheated; a dupe; a gull.

Webster 1828 Edition



n. [L. victima.]
A living being sacrificed to some deity, or in the performance of a religious rite; usually, some beast slain in sacrifice; but human beings have been slain by some nations, for the purpose of appeasing the wrath or conciliating the favor of some deity.
Something destroyed; something sacrificed in the pursuit of an object. How many persons have fallen victims to jealousy, to lust, to ambition!

Definition 2024





victim (plural victims)

  1. Anyone who is harmed by another.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tremarn Case:
      “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. […]”
    • 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.
  2. (original sense) A living creature which is slain and offered as human or animal sacrifice, usually in a religious rite; by extension, the transfigurated body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
  3. An aggrieved or disadvantaged party in a crime (e.g. swindle.)
  4. A person who suffers any other injury, loss, or damage as a result of a voluntary undertaking.
  5. An unfortunate person who suffers from a disaster or other adverse circumstance.
    • 1907, Robert Chambers, chapter 6, in (Please provide the title of the work):
      “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, […] !”
    • 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.
  6. (narratology) A character who is conquered or manipulated by a villain.