mid-14c., alteration of murtherer (c. 1300), agent noun from murder (v.); in part from Old French mordrere, from Medieval Latin murdrarius, from Germanic. Old English words for this included morðorcwalu, morðorslaga, morðorwyrhta, literally "murder-wright." The original murderer's row was in New York City's Tombs prison; figurative use in baseball dates to 1858, though the quintessential one was the 1927 New York Yankees. Fem. form murderess attested from late 14c. Murderee (1920) never caught on.
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