Saturday, March 14, 2009


uxoricide [uhk-SORE-uh-side]
n. the act of murdering one's wife.

[From Latin uxor ("wife") + -cide ("killer")]

A homicide detective in Chicago once told me that whenever a woman "disappears" for a week or more, chances are nearly 100 percent that she is dead and was a victim of uxoricide. As tragically common as wife-killing is, the word uxoricide is not used all that much. One hears the words fratricide ("brother-killing"), matricide ("mother-killing") and patricide ("father-killing"), but those crimes take place much less often than a man murdering his wife or girlfriend. It's no coincidence that many of the biggest celebrity trials of the last 20 years have been uxoricidal: OJ Simpson, Robert Blake, Scott Peterson, Phil Spector, etc. While there are cases of husband-killing, it's uncommon enough that we don't (as far as I know) have a word in English meaning that.

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