• Technically, an assassination is a subset of murder. Assassination is, by definition, a murder conducted by an organization (generally a government, but criminal and terrorist organizations as well) against a specific individual. So as long as you have such an organization that wants you to go away, permenent-like, you are important enough to be assassinated. So stay in school, kids!
  • Assassination is indeed a subset of murder. Assassination is murder for political reasons. Were President George W. Bush shot in a car jacking, I'd call that murder, as I would if President Bill Clinton were killed by someone because of a love quarrel. But if someone kills their mayor because of a zoning issue, that's assassination. There are shades of gray, of course, and just where interpersonal relations become politics I don't know. Assassins have (or work for people that have) political reasons to perform the deed. Assassin comes from the word "hashish", a "mind control drug" used long ago (and still!). More than you would ever want to know about the word 'assassin' is here:
  • Assassination is murder based on a principal of a political or religious ideology and not personal motive. Suggesting that someone has to become important to be assassinated therefore is not unreasonable; just important enough so that their religious or political influence is deemed to be a threat. The threshold of this influence and the subsequent perceived threat can vary enormously. Additionally, the assassin doesn't have to be a professional or practised killer.
  • Very important -- it's usually a political leader that gets assassinated... such as a president, or somebody running for president. It has to be motivated by political hate as well... or at least, be made to look like a political statement. For example, a Mayor of San Francisco was shot and killed by a policeman in his office back in 1978 -- nobody called it an assassination, though it was considered a hate crime.
  • I think it really comes down to the reason for the killing: if the wife of a cabinet member kills him out of jealousy over an affair, that should qualify as murder. If someone kills him to influence public policy, that would be assassination. Of course, it won't matter to him.
  • I believe this is another in a long list of terms that have lost some of their meaning over the years. Assasination was once reserved only for political leaders. Now it is used to describe the murder of "prominent persons", but I have no answer for your question of how important a person has to be. Assasination also was a descriptive term used primarily for the public murdering of a prominent figure.
  • As I understand it, an assassination is typically politically motivated. I saw a recent documentary on one of the Discovery channels where someone hired/trained a friend to be a hitman and then enticed him to off his wife. Messed up. Yet, the documentary called that an "assassination" despite the target just being a regular housewife. From, here are three definitions from three separate source dictionaries regarding assassination as you refer to it (not like an "assassination of character"): 1. to kill suddenly or secretively, esp. a politically prominent person; murder premeditatedly and treacherously. 2. To murder (a prominent person) by surprise attack, as for political reasons. 3. murder of a public figure by surprise attack Note that all three refer to a "sudden" or "surprise" attack, yet only the first would fit the situation in the Discovery channel documentary, as it refers "especially" (intending "but not exclusively") to a politically prominent figure.
  • Not necessarily importance, but method: "the killing of someone by treacherous violence"
  • I think it has to do with politics more than anything else...I think it can be someone at any level of government..I don't know if a secretary's murder would be called an assassination, even if she were in I think it must have to do with some level of importance, or power..I am not certain where that line is drawn..perhaps that word would not be used in conjunction with administrative or support staff. :)
  • To murder premeditatedly and treacherously by a FANATIC - The Random House Collegiate Dictionary
  • I think it depends on the reason for their death. If someone was hired to do it, or if there is a political or ideological motivation behind it, then it would be considered an assassination. There is something of a controversy over the definition. As for the importance of a person, some claim that they only have to be notable in the public view, whether they be a politician, religious leader, author, or famous shoe shiner.
  • It is not the degree of a person's importance that designates an assassination. It is whether they are a "prominant figure" or if the murder is for political reasons.
  • You don't have to be elected, but have to be of some importance. Martin Luther King Jr. was not elected, but was assassinated. Same thing with John Lennon.
  • You have to be able to both walk on the surface of the water and then change it into bread and wine afterward to be labeled as assassinated! Don't you know they have new standards now since Obama has become president elect!

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