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honour killing

Meaning: the murder of one family member by another after a social taboo has been broken

For example:

  • The police suspect the girl's murder was a so-called "honour killing".

  • Ahmed's parents said the "honour killing" of their gay son was necessary to protect the family name.

Note: These murders occur in conservative Middle Eastern and South Asian families that feel "shamed" because a family member is thought to have broken a social taboo, esp. one related to love, sex or sexuality. Examples include brothers killing their sister because she has a boyfriend, or parents killing a son because he's gay or because they or their neighbours suspect he's gay. Also "honor killing" (US spelling).

Quick Quiz:

Her murder was called an "honour killing" because she was

a. killed by her family

b. ashamed of her family

c. honoured by her family

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Contributor: Matt Errey