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Murder is when one person kills another person on purpose. It is only called "murder" when it is against the law. If a person does something that makes someone else die, it is often known as manslaughter or homicide. This is true if it was an accident. Sometimes, a death caused by someone else may not be a crime. For example, in some situations, killing may be self-defense. A person who commits murder is called a murderer.
The legal definition of "murder" and "manslaughter" may be different in different countries, and is very much argued on: for example, killing in war is not usually called "murder" by those who take place in the war. Killing in self defense (if people being attacked kill someone who is attacking them) is usually not "murder".
"Assassination" is a word which means murdering someone for a reason. The word is most used when the person who was killed was a famous celebrity or was a person involved in politics. The people who carry out assassinations are called "assassins" or "Hit-men". An assassin may murder someone for political reasons, for money, or for other reasons, such as favors owed and revenge.
The word "Assassin" comes from Hashishin, a Muslim group that was active in the Middle East from the 8th to the 14th centuries. This secret society killed people for political and religious reasons. It is thought that the assassins were under the influence of hashish and opium during their killings or during their training. The word assassin comes from either hashashim, the influence of the drugs, or hassansin, after their leader, Hassan-i Sabbah.
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- "Assassination". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, second edition, 1989
- Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language, Seth Lerer, 2007