Mariticide (from Latin maritus "married" + -cide, from caedere "to cut, to kill") literally means the murder of one's married partner, but has become most associated with the murder of a husband by his wife, as the reverse is given the name uxoricide.

In England the punishment until 1790 was to be strangled and burnt at the stake.[1]


Notable instances


Anne Williams burned at the stake for mariticide in Gloucester, 1753.[1]
  • Laodice I allegedly poisoned her husband Antiochus II Theos of the Seleucid dynasty around 246 BC.
  • The Roman emperor Claudius was poisoned at the instigation of his wife Agrippina the Younger to ensure the succession of her son Nero
  • Marie-Josephte Corriveau, 1763, New France
  • The "Black Widows of Liverpool", Catherine Flannigan (1829–1884) and Margaret Higgins (1843–1884) were Scottish sisters who were hanged at Kirkdale Gaol in Liverpool, for the murder of Thomas Higgins, Margaret's husband.
  • Florence Maybrick (1862–1941) spent fourteen years in prison in England after being convicted of murdering her considerably older English husband, James Maybrick, in 1889.
  • Tillie Klimek claimed to have psychic powers by predicting her husbands' deaths, but was proven after the attempted murder of her fifth husband that she was poisoning them with arsenic.
  • Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters were executed in 1923 for the murder of Thompson’s husband Percy.
  • Heather Osland drugged and had her son kill her husband in 1991, creating a test case for the 'battered woman syndrome' defense in Australia.[2]
  • Katherine Knight murdered her de facto husband by stabbing him, then skinned him and attempted to feed pieces of his body to his children.[3] She was sentenced to life in prison without parole: her appeal against this sentence as too harsh was rejected.[4]
  • In 1991, Pamela Smart had her husband murdered by a student of hers. Though the student committed the murder, the courts ruled that Smart had been guilty of mariticide due to her influence on the young man and her convincing manner to get him to carry out the act.
  • In 1999, entertainer Phil Hartman was killed by his wife Brynn Hartman, who then killed herself.
  • in 2004, Jamila, Countess of Shaftesbury, paid her brother to murder her husband, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury.


In Greek mythology

  • Clytemnestra murders her husband Agamemnon as an act of vengeance for the murder of their daughter Iphigeneia, and to retain power after his return from Troy. In Aeschylus' Oresteia the Erinyes consider Orestes' matricide a greater crime than Clytemnestra's mariticide, since the killing of a spouse does not shed familial blood, but the opposite view is espoused by Aeschylus's Athena.
  • The Amazons were said to kill men they partnered with after conceiving.

See also

  • Suicide, the killing of one's self
Familial killing terms:
  • Avunculicide, the killing of one's uncle
  • Filicide, the killing of one's child
  • Fratricide, the killing of one's brother
  • Matricide, the killing of one's mother
  • Nepoticide, the killing of one's nephew
  • Parricide, the killing of one's parents or another close relative
  • Patricide, the killing of one's father
  • Prolicide, is the killing of one's offspring
  • Sororicide, the killing of one's sister
  • Uxoricide, the killing of one's wife
Non-familial killing terms from the same root:
  • Deicide is the killing of a god
  • Genocide is the killing of a large group of people, usually a specific and entire ethnic, racial, religious or national group
  • Homicide is the killing of any human
  • Infanticide, the killing of an infant from birth to 12 months
  • Regicide is the killing of a monarch (king or ruler)
  • Tyrannicide is the killing of a tyrant


  1. ^ a b Samuel Walter Burgess, Historical illustrations of the origin and progress of the passions, and their influence on the conduct of mankind, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green, 1825, pp.134-135
  2. ^ Stateline Victoria
  3. ^ HTML Document: Regina v Knight [2001] NSWSC 1011 revised - 29 January 2002
  4. ^ Knight loses appeal for skinning partner - Breaking News - National - Breaking News

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mariticide — noun the murder of a husband by his wife • Hypernyms: ↑murder, ↑slaying, ↑execution * * *  ̷ ̷ˈ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ˌsīd noun ( s) Etymology: mariti (from Latin maritus husband & Lati …   Useful english dictionary

  • mariticide — noun a) The act of killing ones spouse, especially the murder of a husband by his wife. b) A woman who has killed her husband …   Wiktionary

  • mariticide — killing or killer of one s husband Killing and Killers …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • mariticide — n. murder of a husband (by a wife) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • mariticide — ma·rit·i·cide …   English syllables

  • mariticide — The murder of a husband by his wife …   Grandiloquent dictionary

  • Matricide — Orestes Pursued by the Furies by William Adolphe Bouguereau. Clytemnestra was murdered by Orestes and the Furies torment him for his crime …   Wikipedia

  • Uxoricide — Homicide Murder …   Wikipedia

  • Avunculicide — Homicide Murde …   Wikipedia

  • Democide — Homicide Murder …   Wikipedia