butch·er | \ˈbu̇-chər \

Definition of butcher 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a person who slaughters animals or dresses their flesh

b : a dealer in meat

2 : one that kills ruthlessly or brutally

3 : one that bungles or botches

4 : a vendor especially on trains or in theaters


butchered; butchering\ˈbu̇ch-riŋ, ˈbu̇-chə- \

Definition of butcher (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to slaughter and dress for market butcher hogs

2 : to kill in a barbarous manner

3 : botch butchered the play

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Examples of butcher in a Sentence


the newest intern on the campaign is a butcher when it comes to writing press releases


They've hired someone to butcher the hogs. Many innocent people were butchered under his regime. The band has butchered my favorite song.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Why must actors playing the French butcher perfectly fine lines? Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This 'King Lear' more humdrum than tragic," 6 July 2018 Just before cooking begins, soak the butcher's twine in water for 10 minutes, making sure to use enough string to hang the meat from a sturdy hook screwed into the underside or front of the mantel, or on a wall or cabinet above the fireplace. Debbi Snook, cleveland.com, "Michael Symon's Fireplace Chicken on a String (recipe)," 11 Apr. 2018 Pitmaster Steve Garner has both the rich, fragrant boudin and the spicy, garlicky sausage links made to his recipe by a local butcher. Houston Chronicle, "Houston's favorite barbecue joints," 10 May 2018 Metzg, a restaurant and butcher with tables spilling onto scruffy Langstrasse, is decidedly more adult, spotlighting local meat and small- production Swiss wines. Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Plan a Trip to Zurich This Summer (Yes, Really)," 2 May 2018 But today's butchers and fishmongers are savvy users of social media, update customers through email newsletters, showcase modern branding and aim to source locally and sustainably. azcentral, "AZ Memo: 3rd day of #RedForEd teacher walkouts; Migrants traveling by caravan arrive at the border; Best new meat and seafood shops in PHX," 30 Apr. 2018 The new Mid-City shop on a corner of Bienville Street near Bayou St. John is both a butcher and a sandwich shop. Todd A. Price, NOLA.com, "Piece of Meat, a butcher and sandwich shop, arrives in Mid-City: Opening alert," 25 Apr. 2018 But soon after, authorities say Carter — with a pot of hot grease in one hand and bleach and a butcher knife in the other — hunted down Henderson. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "DeKalb woman convicted of throwing hot grease in victim’s face," 13 July 2018 He was last seen wearing dark clothing and armed with a butcher knife. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee police seek three men in armed robbery on west side," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When the performances roll around, even adorable matching tuxedos can't help these dudes from butchering their songs. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelorette Season 14 Episode 5 Recap: These Guys Are All the Worst," 25 June 2018 Prompted by the evil tech guy who butchered Maeve, Hale has had Clementine programmed with the lines of Maeve's code that enable her to control other hosts. refinery29.com, "Westworld Season 2, Episode 9 Recap: Is [Redacted] A Host?," 18 June 2018 The nonprofit works to save gorillas like Pinkin from bush meat markets, where butchered animals such as apes, elephants and antelopes are sold as food. Josh Hafner, USA TODAY, "Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Baby gorilla embraces man who rescued her from bushmeat market," 20 Feb. 2018 As Borat, Cohen infamously butchered the national anthem at a rodeo in Salem, Virginia. Bethonie Butler, chicagotribune.com, "Here's how Sacha Baron Cohen fools celebrities into embarrassing interviews, starting with 'Da Ali G Show'," 13 July 2018 See also: Galan’s Meat Market and Deli brings lost art of butchering to Portland More headlines: Louisville already has 50+ new restaurants, bars in 2018 The market opened in 2000 as the company's first location in Kentucky. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Fresh Market will close this Louisville store after almost 18 years," 10 July 2018 During the earliest phase, radiocarbon-dated to around 2300 B.C.E., the pits were filled with broken bits of ceramic drinking vessels, stone axs, millstones, and butchered animal bones. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Rituals performed at this German ‘Stonehenge’ may link mysterious monument to its U.K. counterpart," 28 June 2018 But this is hardly the first time that a key member of Trump's Cabinet has butchered or otherwise seemed to question the intelligence community's report. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump DHS secretary’s bizarre comments about Russian election interference," 22 May 2018 And downstairs, the chef has built an actual meat palace, where all his dry-aging and butchering takes place. Jenn Harris, latimes.com, "A first look at APL, Adam Perry Lang's new Hollywood restaurant and meat palace," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'butcher.' 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 butcher


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1562, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for butcher


Middle English bocher, from Anglo-French, from buc he-goat, probably of Celt origin; akin to Middle Irish bocc he-goat — more at buck

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Learn More about butcher

Phrases Related to butcher

have/take a butcher's

Statistics for butcher

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for butcher

The first known use of butcher was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for butcher



English Language Learners Definition of butcher

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: someone who cuts and sells meat in a shop

: someone who kills animals and prepares their meat to be eaten

: a shop that sells meat



English Language Learners Definition of butcher (Entry 2 of 2)

: to kill (an animal) and prepare its meat for sale

: to kill (people or animals) in a brutal and cruel way

: to do (something) very badly : to make a mess of (something)


butch·er | \ˈbu̇-chər \

Kids Definition of butcher

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person whose business is killing animals for sale as food

2 : a dealer in meat

3 : a person who kills in large numbers or in a brutal manner


butchered; butchering

Kids Definition of butcher (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to kill and prepare (an animal) for food

3 : to make a mess of : botch I let my mother cut my hair and she butchered it.

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More from Merriam-Webster on butcher

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for butcher

Spanish Central: Translation of butcher

Nglish: Translation of butcher for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of butcher for Arabic Speakers

Comments on butcher

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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