A person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs. In the Roman Catholic liturgy, martyrs rank before all other saints. Recorded from Old English, the word comes via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek martur ‘witness’ (in Christian use, ‘martyr’).
The Martyr King Charles I, a title reflecting the beliefs of those members of the Anglican Church who regard his execution as an act of religious persecution; 30 January was formally instituted as a fast in his memory in 1660 (it was suppressed in 1859, although a lesser festival was reinstated in 1980).
See also the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, Forty Martyrs at forty, Manchester Martyrs.