"person who commits murder," mid-14c., mordrer, alteration of murtherer (early 14c.), agent noun from murder (v.); in part from Old French mordrere, from Medieval Latin murdrarius, from Germanic. Old English words for this included myrþra, morðorcwalu, morðorslaga, and morðorwyrhta, which is 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.
updated on March 21, 2019