AskDefine | Define uxoricide

User Contributed Dictionary



From uxor + -cide



  1. A man who kills his wife.
  2. The killing of one's wife.

See also


a man who kills his wife
the killing of one's wife

Extensive Definition

Uxoricide (from Latin uxor meaning "wife") is murder of one's wife. It can refer to the act itself or the man who carries it out. Overkill is reported to be common in these slayings, presumably reflecting the emotional state of the killer.
In many patriarchal cultures uxoricide is regarded less harshly than other forms of homicide, especially in cases of adultery. It may even be regarded as the correct, honourable thing to do. (See honor killing)

Uxoricide in fiction

  • In the video game God of War, the protagonist Kratos is fooled into murdering his own wife (and daughter), by his master Ares. Throughout the game's storyline, Kratos swears to exact revenge upon his former master and kill the God of War, which he eventually does.
  • In the film Sweeney Todd, the demon barber, in a passionate flurry of murder, accidentally kills his wife under the assumption that she was just a witness.

Known or suspected uxoricides

  • Ptolemy XI of Egypt had his wife and stepmother, Berenice III, murdered nineteen days after their wedding in 80 BC. Afterwards, Ptolemy was lynched by the citizens of Alexandria, with whom Berenice was very popular.
  • Roman Emperor Tiberius probably had his second wife, Julia, starved to death in 14 AD, while she was in exile on Pandataria. Their marriage was unhappy, and he had been publicly embarrassed by her adultery years earlier. Her alleged paramour, Sempronius Gracchus, was executed around the same time on Tiberius’s orders.
  • Roman Emperor Nero ordered the death of his first wife, Octavia, soon after divorcing her in 62 AD. He also reportedly kicked his second wife, Poppaea Sabina, to death in 65 AD after an argument.
  • John Emil List murdered his three children, mother and his wife on November 9, 1971. He was a fugitive for 18 years. He was apprehended on June 1, 1989 after an episode of "America's Most Wanted" aired. On May 1, 1990 he was sentenced to 5 life terms in prison.

See also

uxoricide in Spanish: Uxoricidio
uxoricide in Italian: Uxoricidio
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