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Home > Language > Words > Killing and Murder Compared

Difference Between Killing and Murder

Killing vs Murder

We often come across words like kill and murder in newspapers and TV to inform us about the demise of people in accidents and also about those who lose their lives because of an attack in a planned manner by other human beings. Though the end result is the same with the loss of human life in both a killing, as well as a murder, the law makes a difference between kill and murder while sentencing a culprit accused of murder. There is a difference between a man getting killed in an accident and a man getting murdered, and it is this difference that will be highlighted in this article.


Kill is a term that is used to denote death of human beings though it is also used for death of animals, as well. However, we shall confine ourselves to loss of human lives in this article. The word is broad and encompasses all instances of loss of human lives whether accidental, intentional or planned. A man may be killed in a car accident or he may be killed by another human being. If a man gets killed in a workplace because of ignorance or fault of another person, the accused is still charged with killing and not murder.


Murder is a term that is reserved for intentional killing of a human being. Any instance where the death of a human being is because of malicious intent and action of another person is referred to as a murder. Murderer either meticulously plans and then carries it out or hits another human being in a fit of rage. It is not necessary for a murder to be gruesome or violent as culprits can make it look like an accidental killing in some cases. The only instance where a murder is still a killing is where a soldier guns down another soldier in a war.

What is the difference between Killing and Murder?

• A murder is a killing of a human being that is planned and intentional, whereas killing is a generic term that is used more in accidental killing.

• Killing indicates loss of life and whether it is an accident or a natural disaster, loss of lives is referred to as killing of people.

• The most important distinction between a killing and murder is that of motivation and intent. A murder has the intent and is planned, whereas killing does not have intent.

• You can kill animals but in case of human beings, you murder them.

• When the loss of life is accidental, the term used is killing.

• Loss of lives because of natural disaster and epidemic is also killing.

• Soldiers kill, they do not murder in war.

• Murder is more serious than killing in the eyes of the law and, therefore, carries a harsher sentence.


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