A martyr is a person who chooses to suffer or die rather than renounce their beliefs or principles, typically for a religious or political cause.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Martyrdom, Saint, Victim, Hero


Perpetrator, Villain

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun martyrdoms, martyr, martyrdom, martyrs
Verb martyring, martyr, martyred, martyrs, martyrize
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The early Christians were often persecuted, and many of them became martyrs.

  • In the face of persecution, Sarah, a brave martyr for her cause, fearlessly stood up for what she believed in, sacrificing her own safety and well-being, knowing that her ultimate sacrifice would serve as a catalyst for a brighter future.

  • Some people consider those who die fighting for their country to be martyrs.

  • The religious extremists believed they would be martyrs if they died while carrying out a terrorist attack.


The word martyr comes from the Greek word “martys,” which means “witness.” In religious contexts, a martyr is someone who dies for their faith or religious beliefs. In the early Christian church, many people were martyred for their faith, as they refused to renounce their belief in Christ and were often killed as a result.

The term martyr has since been extended to include those who suffer or die for any deeply held belief or principle, including political, social, and humanitarian causes. These people are often seen as heroes who are willing to sacrifice everything, including their own lives, for what they believe in.

The word martyr can also be used figuratively to refer to people who suffer greatly for a cause, without necessarily dying for it. In this sense, martyrdom can be seen as a form of self-sacrifice and devotion to a cause, and the martyr is someone who inspires others by their example.

There are also related words that use the root “martyr,” such as martyrdom, which refers to the act of being a martyr, or someone who dies for a cause, and martyrize, which means to make someone suffer greatly for their beliefs or principles. The word martyr can also be used in compound words, such as “martyr complex,” which refers to someone who enjoys or seeks out suffering as a way of gaining sympathy or attention.