The word uxoricide is used when there is a homicide that consists of a man killing his wife. The term uxoricide comes from the Latin uxor, which means wife, and -cide comes from caedere, which means to kill. Uxoricide has existed throughout history, for example in ancient Rome Emperor Nero ordered the murder of her first wife Octavia after he had already divorced her.

Poppea Sabina, his second wife, died of a severe blow she received from Nero in 65 AD. England’s King Henry VIII ordered the execution of two of his six wives: Anne Boleyn, whom he falsely accused of adultery, incitement and treason; and Catherine Howard, also accused of adultery.

But it is not necessary to look back, a more recent example is found in the Franco regime, a time in which the use of uxoricide was allowed if the woman had committed some infidelity.

Today it is common to relate uxoricide to machismo, since these homicides of women tend to occur in men with a very conservative mentality who do not accept women’s freedoms or their emancipation. In cases of adultery, and especially in the sexual domain, they consider that they damage the honor of the man and that they can be a cause of uxoricide for revenge.

Proponents of psychodynamic theories have offered explanations about the mechanisms underlying the appearance of Uxoricide. It has been suggested that men who kill their partners experience an unconscious dependence on their wife and resentment towards her. These men want to leave the relationship, but inadvertently perceive themselves as too helpless to do so, culminating in the belief that killing the wife is the only way to get rid of her. This approach also offers an alternative explanation for cases where a man commits uxoricide and subsequent immediate suicide: the man ends his life not because of guilt, but because of his perceived powerlessness and dependency on him.

For many sociologists, the presence of uxoricides in recent times would occur in men with an excessively traditional mentality that would not accept the emancipation of women or the increase in their freedoms, although in reality there is no increase in uxoricides in recent times, so only greater importance in the media to a relevant phenomenon that is the leading cause of death among women between 15 and 44 years of age worldwide.

In many patriarchal societies, uxoricide is seen as lesser homicide, especially in cases of adultery, and one even considers what the husband has to do in these cases. In India, a frequent cause of uxoricide is the problem of a dowry that does not satisfy the husband and her family.