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For the 1990s police television series, see Homicide: Life on the Street.
It's in our nature to destroy ourselves. It's in our nature to kill ourselves. It's in our nature to kill each other. It's in our nature to kill! Kill, kill! ~ Jacoby D. Shaddix
No one joins the murder squad who hasn't a taste for death. ~ P. D. James

Homicide refers to the act of killing another human being. Although homicide does not define an illegal act necessarily, sometimes it is used synonymously with "murder".




  • Thou shalt not kill.
    • The Bible (King James Version), Deuteronomy 5:17. Alternatively translated as "You shall not murder" (New International Version); "Do not murder" (Contemporary English Version); "Thou dost not murder" (Young's Literal Translation); "Do not kill another person" (New Life Version); "Do not commit murder" (New International Reader's Version).
  • Of crimes injurious to the persons of private subjects, the most principal and important is the offense of taking away that life, which is the immediate gift of the great creator; and which therefore no man can be entitled to deprive himself or another of, but in some manner either expressly commanded in, or evidently deducible from, those laws which the creator has given us; the divine laws, I mean, of either nature or revelation.
  • .....murder is not just a crime of lust or violence. It becomes possession. They are part of you … [the victim] becomes a part of you, and you [two] are forever one … and the grounds where you kill them or leave them become sacred to you, and you will always be drawn back to them.
    • Ted Bundy, quoted by Bill Hagmaier. Rule, Ann (2009). The Stranger Beside Me (Paperback; updated 2009 ed.). New York: Pocket Books pages 380–96.


  • Mordre wol out, that see we day by day.
    • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, "The Nonnes Preestes Tale" ("The Nun's Priest's Tale", line 15,058.
  • Oh dear, I never realized what a terrible lot of explaining one has to do in a murder!


  • It must be true that whenever a sensational murder is committed there are people who — though they are, quite properly, of no interest to law enforcers, attorneys, or newspaper reporters — weep, lie sleepless, and realize at last that their lives have been changed by a crime in which they played no part.
    • Viña Delmar, The Becker Scandal, a Time Remembered (1968).
  • To kill someone for committing murder is a punishment incomparably worse than the crime itself. Murder by legal sentence is immeasurably more terrible than murder by brigands.


  • True believing Christians are sheep among wolves. ... They employ neither worldly sword nor war, since with them killing is absolutely renounced.


  • You're not a homicidal, I checked that on your record before I came out after you. That is why I know you will join the Corps and get a great deal of pleasure out of going after the other kind of criminal who is sick, not just socially protesting. The man who can kill and enjoy it.
  • One of television's great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.


  • Gentlemen of the Jury, the charge against the prisoner is murder, and the punishment of murder Is death ; and that simple statement is sufficient to suggest to us the awful solemnity of the occasion which brings you and me face to face.


  • If the masterpiece was murder, I'd major in art.


  • For instance, if you have by a lie hindered a man who is even now planning a murder, you are legally responsible for all the consequences. But if you have strictly adhered to the truth, public justice can find no fault with you, be the unforeseen consequence what it may. It is possible that whilst you have honestly answered Yes to the murderer's question, whether his intended victim is in the house, the latter may have gone out unobserved, and so not have come in the way of the murderer, and the deed therefore have not been done; whereas, if you lied and said he was not in the house, and he had really gone out (though unknown to you) so that the murderer met him as he went, and executed his purpose on him, then you might with justice be accused as the cause of his death. For, if you had spoken the truth as well as you knew it, perhaps the murderer while seeking for his enemy in the house might have been caught by neighbours coming up and the deed been prevented.
    • Immanuel Kant, On a Supposed Right to Tell Lies from Benevolent Motives (1797).
  • Vash: Thou shalt not kill,' remember?! What kind of church man are you anyway?
    • Trigun, Quick Draw (April 15, 2003), written by Yōsuke Kuroda.


  • Around his neck a ribbon clung,
    Close to his heart a picture hung :
    I saw the face — it was not mine ;
    I saw, too, a small dagger shine,
    A curious toy — you know the rest.
  • Abel the victim—Cain the homicide,
    Were type and prophecy
    Of times that were to be,
    Thus reddened from the first life’s troubled tide.
  • Murder, like talent, seems occasionally to run in families.


  • Why should murder be so over-represented in our popular fiction, and crimes of a sexual nature so under-represented? Surely it cannot be because rape is worse than murder, and is thus deserving of a special unmentionable status. Surely, the last people to suggest that rape was worse than murder were the sensitively reared classes of the Victorian era … And yet, while it is perfectly acceptable (not to say almost mandatory) to depict violent and lethal incidents in lurid and gloating high-definition detail, this is somehow regarded as healthy and perfectly normal, and it is the considered depiction of sexual crimes that will inevitably attract uproars of the current variety.
  • The murder of one person is called unrighteous and incurs one death penalty. Following this argument, the murder of ten persons will be ten times as unrighteous and there should be ten death penalties; the murder of a hundred persons will be a hundred times as unrighteous and there should be a hundred death penalties. All the gentlemen of the world know that they should condemn these things, calling them unrighteous. But when it comes to the great unrighteousness of attacking states, they do not know that they should condemn it. On the contrary, they applaud it, calling it righteous.
    • Mozi Book 5: Condemnation of Offensive War I


  • Light Yagami: I've already covered the most viscious criminals. So now the level of atrocity is coming down. And every single one of them will die of a heart attack! Even a fool is going to notice that somebody is bumping off bad guys. I'm going to make the whole world know I'm here...that somebody is passing righteous judgement on them! And then nobody will commit crimes anymore. The world will be a better place. And while people who obviously deserve to be punished are dying of heart attacks. I'll gradually be killing off immoral; people who harass others through illness and accidents. Even that will eventually be noticed by the idiot masses. They'll realize they'll die if they don't change their ways...I'll be making this a world inhabited by people I decide are good!


  • One murder made a villain,
    Millions a hero. Princes were privileged
    To kill, and numbers sanctified the crime.


  • As a social phenomenon, serial murder is only about a hundred and twenty-five years old, part of as swelling tide of interpersonal violence that has been since the middle of the nineteenth century.
  • The first killer I ever studied had put bandages over the wounds of the people he stabbed after they were dead, Other killers have done the same thing.
  • When bodies are assaulted or parts excised, the killer is signifying his wish to remove any vestiges of humanity from the victim.
    • Robert Ressler, I Have Lived The Monster as quoted in The Munchausen Complex: Socialization of Violence and Abuse by Richard L. Matteol
  • I believe too thoroughly that we create our own reality, for one thing -- an unpopular belief where violence is concerned -- but I'm convinced that the victim-to-be picks out the assailant with as much skill and craft as the murderer seeks his victim, and until we learn much more about both, we'll get nowhere battling crime. I'm not justifying murder by any means, but I'm saying that the victim wants to be murdered -- perhaps to be punished, if not by a vengeful god then by one of his fellows, and that a would-be murderer can switch in a minute and become the victim instead; and that the slayer wants to be slain.
    • Jane Roberts, Psychic Politics: An Aspect Psychology Book, p. 205.
  • Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god."


  • I say a murder is abstract. You pull the trigger and after that you do not understand anything that happens.
  • If survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them you must. But the most important part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow man.
  • Murder most foul, as in the best it is, But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
  • For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
    With most miraculous organ.
  • He took my father grossly, full of bread;
    With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
    And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
  • O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
    That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
    Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
    That ever lived in the tide of times.
    Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood
    Over thy wounds now do I prophesy.
  • Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
    Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
    The multitudinous seas incardine,
    Making the green one red.

  • Blood hath been shed ere now i' the olden time,
    Ere humane statute purg'd the gentle weal;
    Ay, and since too, murders have been perform'd
    Too terrible for the ear: the time has been,
    That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
    And there an end; but now they rise again,
    With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
    And push us from our stools: this is more strange
    Than such a murder is.
  • The great King of kings
    Hath in the table of his law commanded
    That thou shalt do no murder: and wilt thou, then,
    Spurn at his edict and fulfill a man's?
  • Hiko Seijuro: Murder is the only art a swordsman may practice. No ornamental words can change that. You want to protect people with murder? You’ll slaughter legions so that a few may live. Many years, long before you were born, my sword was tearing asunder the lives of men. Yes, all of those men were evil, but they were human beings first and foremost, Kenshin. The world you ardently desire to enter will not know what to do with you. It will deceive you into believing that you are saving lives even as you destroy them. You will accept these lies all the while, your hands will be stained with the worst of offenses.
    • Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, (2003) written by Masashi Sogo.
  • We are concerned here only with the imposition of capital punishment for the crime of murder, and when a life has been taken deliberately by the offender, we cannot say that the punishment is invariably disproportionate to the crime. It is an extreme sanction suitable to the most extreme of crimes.
    • Potter Stewart, Majority opinion in 7-2 ruling that the death penalty is a constitutionally acceptable form of punishment for premeditated murder (July 2, 1976).


  • This is my costume. I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else.


  • Do you not weep?
    Other sins only speak; murder shrieks out.
    The element of water moistens the earth,
    But blood flies upwards and bedews the heavens.
    • John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi (1612–13), Act 4, Sc. 2. By Bosola, to Ferdinand upon gazing on the dead body of the Duchess. Sometimes reported as "murder cries out".


  • One to destroy is murder by the law,
    And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;
    To murder thousands takes a specious name,
    War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame.


  • A man lusts to become a god...and there is murder. Murder upon murder upon murder. Why is the world of men nothing but murder?

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 634.

  • Carcasses bleed at the sight of the murderer.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part I. Sec. I. Memb. II. Subsec. V.
  • Et tu, Brute fili.
    • You also, O son Brutus.
    • Caesar. Words on being stabbed by Brutus, according to Suetonius. Quoted as "Et tu Brutus" and "Tu quoque Brute." True Tragedy of Richarde, Duke of York. (1600). Also found in S. Nicholson's Acolastus his Afterwitte. (1600) Caesar's Legend, in Mirror for Magistrates. (1587) Malone suggests that the Latin words appeared in the old Latin play by Richard Eedes—Epilogus Coesaris Interfecti, given at Christ Church, Oxford. (1582).
  • Blood, though it sleep a time, yet never dies.
    Trie gods on murtherers fix revengeful eyes.
  • Murder may pass unpunish'd for a time,
    But tardy justice will o'ertake the crime.
  • Murder, like talent, seems occasionally to run in families.
  • Neque enim lex est sequior ulla,
    Quam necis artifices arte perire sua.
    • Nor is there any law more just, than that he who has plotted death shall perish by his own plot.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, I. 655.
  • Cast not the clouded gem away,
    Quench not the dim but living ray,—
    My brother man, Beware!
    With that deep voice which from the skies
    Forbade the Patriarch's sacrifice.
    God's angel, cries, Forbear!
  • One to destroy is murder by the law,
    And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;
    To murder thousands takes a specious name,
    War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame.
    • Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire VII, line 55.
  • Killing no murder.
    • Title of a tract in Harleian Miscellany, ascribed to Col. Silas Titus, recommending the murder of Cromwell.

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