"deliberate killing of oneself," 1650s, from Modern Latin suicidium "suicide," from Latin sui "of oneself" (genitive of se "self"), from PIE *s(u)w-o- "one's own," from root *s(w)e- (see idiom) + -cidium "a killing," from caedere "to slay" (from PIE root *kae-id- "to strike").
Probably an English coinage; much maligned by Latin purists because it "may as well seem to participate of sus, a sow, as of the pronoun sui" [Phillips]. The meaning "person who kills himself deliberately" is from 1728. In Anglo-Latin, the term for "one who commits suicide" was felo-de-se, literally "one guilty concerning himself."
Even in 1749, in the full blaze of the philosophic movement, we find a suicide named Portier dragged through the streets of Paris with his face to the ground, hung from a gallows by his feet, and then thrown into the sewers; and the laws were not abrogated till the Revolution, which, having founded so many other forms of freedom, accorded the liberty of death. [W.E.H. Lecky, "History of European Morals," 1869]
In England, suicides were legally criminal if of age and sane, but not if judged to have been mentally deranged. The criminal ones were mutilated by stake and given degrading burial in highways until 1823. Suicide blonde (one who has "dyed by her own hand") first attested 1921. Baseball suicide squeeze is attested from 1937.
"wanton destruction of trees," 1853, from Latin arbor "tree" + ending from suicide, etc. The meaning "one who wantonly cuts down trees" is from 1873. Related: Arboricidal (1865).
Arboricide is a crime, as well as homicide. The name of Gastrell, who cut down Shakspeare's mulberry tree, is justly followed by the execrations of posterity, and hangs forever on a gibbet of reproach, vainly craving the boon of oblivion. [New England Farmer, March 1853]
*kaə-id-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to strike."
It forms all or part of: abscise; avicide; biocide; caesarian; caesura; cement; chisel; -cide; circumcise; circumcision; concise; decide; decision; deicide; excise (v.); excision; felicide; feticide; filicide; floricide; fratricide; fungicide; gallinicide; genocide; germicide; herbicide; homicide; incise; incision; incisor; infanticide; insecticide; legicide; liberticide; libricide; matricide; parricide; patricide; pesticide; precise; precision; prolicide; scissors; senicide; spermicide; suicide; uxoricide; verbicide.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit skhidati "beats, tears;" Latin caedere "to strike down, fell, slay;" Lithuanian kaišti "shave;" Armenian xait'em "to stab;" Albanian qeth "to shave;" Middle Dutch heien "to drive piles," Old High German heia "wooden hammer," German heien "beat."
1898, from French anomique (Durkheim, 1897); see anomie.
A more important form of suicide is that which the author terms "anomic," by which he means the suicides produced by any sudden social shock or disturbance such as that due to economic disasters. Men commit egoistic suicide because they see no further reason for living, altruistic suicide because the reason for living seems to them to lie outside life itself, anomic suicide because they are suffering from a disturbance of their activity. [review of "Le Suicide" in Mind, April 1898]
Also attested from 1919 in a sense "non-legal."