blood·​let·​ting | \ ˈbləd-ˌle-tiŋ How to pronounce bloodletting (audio) \

Definition of bloodletting

3 : elimination of personnel or resources
4 : severe criticism Take the English, the undisputed champions at verbal bloodletting.— Bill Ott : a harsh verbal or written attack But what makes "Cinderella & Company" more than just a book-length bloodletting is Hoelterhoff's unexpected sympathy for most of the singers about whom she writes.— Terry Teachout

Examples of bloodletting in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nevertheless, Splinter’s fate points in the direction of bloodlettings to come. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Real Threat to Journalism Is Not Donald Trump," 25 Oct. 2019 Fears about losing their blood to vampires did not, however, dampen Europeans’ enthusiasm for bloodletting, an age-old medical practice that sometimes involved applying leeches to the skin. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Why the World Needs Bloodsucking Creatures," 2 Dec. 2019 Medical treatments were limited to bloodletting, homemade remedies and sometimes opium. Lisa Birnbach, Washington Post, "In praise of the older women who shaped American history," 18 Oct. 2019 There was the rise of the insurgency, al Qaeda in Iraq, Shia militias, the sectarian bloodletting, and ISIS. Arwa Damon, CNN, "Iraqi protesters say they have videos of government atrocities. An internet blackout is stopping the world from seeing them," 9 Oct. 2019 After the bloodletting and the destruction there came what the distinguished historian Eric Foner considers as a new beginning — again, channeling Lincoln, a new burst of freedom. Eric Foner,, "THE SECOND FOUNDING: HOW THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION REMADE THE CONSTITUTION," 4 Oct. 2019 By Daniel Silva In this absorbing exercise in literary chutzpah, Silva brings his Israeli spymaster Gabriel Allon back again for more bloodletting and realpolitik chicanery on behalf of Israel and the Western Alliance. Richard Lipez, Washington Post, "Looking for a summer thriller? Here are 9 picks for your beach bag.," 20 June 2019 Historically, barbers served as surgeons, performing minor procedures such as bloodletting, hence the red and white stripes of the barber pole. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "A band of British barbers are trying to save men’s lives, one haircut at a time," 10 Oct. 2019 The highly contentious stretch prompted a major bloodletting; at least 12 board members left after the vote to close. Glenn Nelson, The Seattle Times, "Battle for ‘soul’ of Seattle’s Japanese American community as Keiro Northwest nursing home closes," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bloodletting.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bloodletting

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of bloodletting was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bloodletting.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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How to pronounce bloodletting (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bloodletting

: the former practice of taking some blood out of the bodies of sick people to heal them
: the practice of causing someone to bleed as part of a religious ceremony
: the killing of people


blood·​let·​ting | \ -ˌlet-iŋ How to pronounce bloodletting (audio) \

Medical Definition of bloodletting

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bloodletting

Britannica English: Translation of bloodletting for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bloodletting

Comments on bloodletting

What made you want to look up bloodletting? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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