Assassination is the sudden targeted murder of an individual often a prominent person sometimes for ideological or political reasons, though some assassinations demonstrate mental instability. Other motivations may be money (contract killing), revenge, or a military operation.
The assassination euphemism targeted killing (or extrajudicial punishment / execution) is also used for the government-sanctioned killing of opponents.
Assassination may also be used as a form of hyperbole, as in the phrase character assassination, meaning an attempt to impugn another's character, and thus kill, or "assassinate" his reputation and credibility.
The term 'Assassin' derives from the Arabic word Hashshashin (Ar: ?????? \ ????? ????????), a militant Ismaili Persian Muslim sect, active in the Northern parts of Iran (Alamout) from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries. This mystic secret society killed members of the Abbasid and Seljuq élite for political and religious reasons.