UXORICIDE [uhk-SAWR-uh-sahyd]: the act of murdering one’s wife


This will not be an “x” rated post.  If you are looking for the gory details of men murdering their wives you have to go elsewhere.   I’m not as interested in the meaning of the word uxoricide as I am the way in which the word came into being.  I hope that doesn’t discourage you from continuing.

Yes, uxoricide is the act of a husband killing his wife.   It is one of the various icide words, each of which identifies a specific kind of victim.

  • Aborticide – the act of killing a fetus in the womb

  • Avunculicide – the act of kiling one’s uncle

  • Familicide – is a multiple-victim homicide where a killer’s spouse and children are slain.

  • Feticide (or foeticide) – the act of killing a fetus in the uterus or causing an abortion

  • Filicide – the act of a parent killing his or her son or daughter.

  • Fratricide – the act of killing a brother, also in military context death by friendly fire.

  • Geronticide – the abandonment of the elderly to die, commit suicide or be killed. See also Senicide.

  • Honor-killing – the act of killing a family member who has or was perceived to have brought disgrace to the family.

  • Infanticide – the act of killing a child within the first year of its life.

  • Mariticide – the act of killing one’s spouse, especially the murder of a husband by his wife.

  • Matricide – the act of killing one’s mother.

  • Neonaticide – the act of killing an infant within the first twenty-four hours or month (varies by individual and jurisdiction) of its life.

  • Nepoticide – the act of kiling one’s nephew

  • Parricide – (also Parenticide) the killing of one’s mother or father or other close relative.

  • Patricide – the act of killing of one’s father.

  • Prolicide – the act of killing one’s own children.

  • Senicide – the killing of one’s elderly family members when they can no longer work or become a burden.

  • Sororicide – the act of killing one’s sister.

  • Uxoricide – the act of killing one’s wife” *


As you can see from this portion of a very, very long list, there are many forms of murder, these all being within a family.

The terms used are derivatives of cidium,  a Medieval Latin word which means killing or murder.   The prefix of the word is, similarly, the Latin term for the specific designation of the victim.

There are numerous lists of the various cides, including : others, members of communities, animals, and a whole group called “intangibles.”  *   The point of this is that the term can refer to a specific  death, as by bullet, knife, or other weapon. But it can also be more generic, as in suppelecticide (the killing or destroying of furniture) or chronocide (the killing of time.)  These are  fascinating ways of playing with words, although they do not come close to eliciting the kind of emotional response as the taking of life from a human being.

I suspect there might be a good number of people who approve heartily of anophelicide, for instance.  It is the killing of mosquitoes.  However, those who relish the presence of song birds might object, on the grounds that if there are no mosquitoes, there are no birds!

I just thought the word, which appeared in an article my daughter was reading the other night, might be of interest to readers.  Hopefully, there won’t be a lot of media articles requiring the use of the term.  Let’s save it for novels.



Photo Credit: jamaicanobserver.com

* Wikipedia

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