We have uxoricide for killing one’s wife, but what is the equivalent term for killing one’s husband?
Similarly, what is the husband-specific equivalent for the adjective uxorial?
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Killing of one's own husband, or one who does this. Very rarely used. See also uxoricide.
There are many who object to this use. The original meaning of mariticide, it is said, was the killing of a spouse, regardless of the gender of the killer or the killed; maritus and marita are simply the masculine and feminine forms with the same Latin root, meaning spouse. Thus, it is argued, mariticide is no more a counterpart to uxoricide than marital is a counterpart to uxorial or parental to maternal.
Merriam-Webster, for instance, defines mariticide as
- one that murders or kills his or her spouse
- the act of a mariticide
There is no exclusive Latin word meaning husband, and thus no words to be derived from it to match uxorial, uxorious, and so on. But since mariticide is being used for this purpose, in a few years it is entirely possible that this use will be fully accepted. It has already made its way into Dictionary.com as
the killing of a spouse, esp. a husband by his wife
On the other hand, this use has already been around for a long time. From Punch, January 17, 1874:
The Yankees are said to have lately coined another new word to express the act, sometimes committed even in the United States, of a man who kills his wife. They call it "uxoricide." This is better than most of their additions to the Dictionary. They might have denominated wife-slaughter conjugicide; which would have been ambiguous. Uxoricide, having been established as a current expression, must of course be balanced with a name to signify the converse deed, which, by parity of nomenclature, will be termed mariticide.
The trend toward gender-neutrality argues for spousal homicide, which shows a sharp uptick in the last few decades, admittedly, like the others, from an extremely low base: Google Books Ngram
I found the answer with the Wiktionary:
- The act of killing one's spouse, especially the murder of a husband by his wife.
Although viricide is more commonly used to mean the killing of viruses, I have found many references to it also being used to mean killing of men or husbands.
Alternative definition of the noun viricide
1.[medicine] Any substance that destroys or inactivates viruses
2.The act of killing one's husband.
I imagine this stems from the latin virilis meaning "of a man, manly, worthy of a man," and I am unsure whether the word viricide has ever actually been applied.
Since uxoricide is based on the Latin uxor for wife, an exact male equivalent would seem to be required to be based on the Latin for husband. The Latin for husband is maritus, so it would appear the most logical choice is mariticide. Vir is the Latin for man, thus viricide is the killing of any man, not just a husband. The Catholic Church uses the word coniuicide (or conjuicide) for killing of a husband or wife for the purpose of marrying the surviving spouse. This is based on the Latin coniugalis (conjugalis) meaning conjugal or relating to marriage. (Remember, Latin uses an "i" where English would use a "j.")