Defining Them Once and For All: The Differences Among Homicide, Murder and Manslaughter

Taking another person’s life

Taking another person’s lifeMany people refer to homicide, murder and manslaughter as the same thing—the act of taking another person’s life. While the essence of each case is the same, there are actually some things that differentiate one offense from the other.

Thankfully, there are legal firms, such as, that put up effort to clarify things and educate the public. Here’s a comparative scrutiny of the differences between the three offenses.


Homicide isn’t actually very different from murder and manslaughter. It’s actually the catchall term for the two offenses. In essence, homicide is the generic term that involves taking away the life of another person. Its nature can be criminal or non-criminal.

Depending on the state of mind of the perpetrator or prevailing circumstances, homicide may be excusable and justifiable. One great example of this is self-defense. Police or military officials killing someone because of the call of duty can be excused from sanctions and punishments set forth by the law.


Murder is a form of homicide that is criminal in nature. It is committed with “malice aforethought,” meaning that the act is predetermined or premeditated. Murders are categorized into different degrees. Degrees are determined based on the gravity and the intent of the culprit. In some cases, murder refers to the act of willingly inflicting injuries to a person that result in his death.


Manslaughter is the act of killing another person without premeditation and predetermination. Since the immediate intent to kill or seriously harm is absent, the punishment may be much lighter than the sanction for murder. Manslaughter has two categories: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter usually results from provocation while involuntary cases result from recklessness and negligence.

These are only some of the things that differentiate homicide, murder and manslaughter from one another. For clarifications, don’t hesitate to consult a criminal attorney.

About Faye Gonzales 1658 Articles
Meet our chief explorer, Faye Gonzales. With over a decade of travel experience, Faye is not only a passionate globetrotter but also a loving mom who understands the unique needs of family travelers. Her insights into family-friendly destinations and travel tips make her a trusted guide for parents seeking memorable adventures with their children.

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