Difference between Hitman and Assassin

You must have heard the words hitman and assassin on numerous occasions, especially in Hollywood flicks. These titles are given to people, who are killers and earn money through finishing someone’s life.

Although this profession is not what most people would like, yet there are some individuals, who get proper training for killing others and they are sent on special missions to finish off a specific individual or a group of people.

The words assassin and hitman are often used by people in the same context, as they are used for an individual who carries out a murder of someone. Despite this similarity, there are a few differences between the two, which one needs to understand.

Once you are aware of the dissimilarities between these two titles, you will not use them in the same context again.

First of all, you need to understand that hitman is a person, who is used by the underworld to carry out killings. This is a slang used by criminals for an individual, who is trained to finish off others through different means.

On the other hand, the word assassin is also used for a person, who kills. However, the reasons behind those killings is not always the underworld, but the assassins are motivated by political and religious reasons too.

When a hitman kills someone, it is mostly because of revenge or for getting rid of some important people related to the underworld. However, the person murdered is not said to be assassinated in this case. For example, if a hitman from a terrorist group kills another person from a different radical group; this is not known to be an assassination.

The word ‘assassination’ is used for political or religious leaders, who have been killed by a professional. For example, when former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed before the 2008 general elections in the country, the media reported this as an assassination.

One big difference between an assassin and a hitman is that the former can be a positive character too. In old days, the kings and leaders of a particular region hired assassins to get rid of the criminals.

However, the word hitman is always used in the negative sense, as the purpose is just to kill for money.


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    Although the true origins of assassins are unknown, yet the most popular examples are found in the history of Muslim leaders such as Hassan-i Sabbah, who was famous throughout Syria. It is said that he founded the Order of the Assassins for political reasons.

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    Hitmen are linked to the world of crime. They get paid to kill the good, so they are seen as negative characters.

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