The term suicide' can be defined in three ways - the dictionary definition, the legal definition and the suicidological definition.
The dictionary definition states that suicide is "the act of killing oneself or attempting to kill oneself."".
Legally, suicide has been defined as, "the act of malicious self-murder, felo de se."".
Suicidology combines knowledge and the methods of inquiry from several fields such as psychology, psychiatry, physiology and sociology for the research, treatment and prevention of suicide. Naturally, suicidologists have their own definition of suicide.
A suicidological definition of suicide is concerned mostly with the causes of suicide, and not much by which instances of death qualify as a suicide.
Edwin Shneidman, a central figure in the field of Suicidology, gave a very detailed definition: "currently in the Western world, suicide is a conscious act of self-induced annihilation, best understood as a multidimensional malaise in the needful individual who defines an issue for which the suicide is perceived as the best solution."".
Shneidman noted that this definition is dependent upon time and culture. He is opposed to the use of the terms suicidal attempt' or suicidal threat', since both are often used in a judgmental manner, casting doubt on the seriousness of the personal crises that caused the act. Instead, he classified both events in the same way as a suicide where the person died - they are both acts of suicide. The difference between these acts is in their degree of lethality, which can be rated as the probability that death is a result of that act.
TYPES OF SUICIDE .
The famous sociologist, Emile Durkheim (1951) defined a number of suicide types, based on the social or cultural conditions in which they occurred:-.
1. Altruistic Suicide: - this refers to formalized' suicides that were approved of, such as the ancient custom of hara-kiri in Japan, in which an individual who brought dishonour to himself or his family was expected to kill himself with his sword.