butch·​er | \ ˈbu̇-chər How to pronounce butcher (audio) \

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 How to pronounce butchering (audio) , 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

The La Jolla butcher shop, Homegrown Meats, closed in 2017 but its beef jerky products are still sold online. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Three North County restaurants to bow out this weekend," 30 Aug. 2019 Food giants and private equity funds are clamoring to get into the health and wellness trend, pursuing everything from natural skincare to vegetarian butchers. Washington Post, "Greggs, the High Street’s Answer to Nigel Farage," 18 Sep. 2019 Organic chicken from the butcher counter or sold frozen by the farmer at our local farmers market, always seems to taste best. Jeanmarie Brownson, chicagotribune.com, "Weeknight chicken challenge met with a hot griddle and fast recipes," 11 Sep. 2019 On July 13, a calf escaped the Saba Live Poultry butcher shop in Bloomfield and workers chased the animal to the back of hardware store parking lot where a worker slit the animal’s throat. USA TODAY, "Rocket’s last blast, Alaska drought, million-dollar ham: News from around our 50 states," 23 Aug. 2019 In one episode, Castelli and his castmates worked as butchers for a local meat trader, tasked with chopping off the heads of chickens and pigs; the scene takes a surprising turn when Castelli vomits. Jason Parham, WIRED, "When Influencers Switch Platforms—and Bare It All," 19 Aug. 2019 Pairing chef-butcher Casey King’s lovingly-prepared burgers with Jack Russell beers at a brick-and-mortar? Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, "10 Gold Country sipping, dining and outdoor adventures," 10 Aug. 2019 Before the stroke, Myers and Davis recruited Towner, a San Diego native who had worked at Brooklyn whole animal butcher Marlow & Daughters and restaurant Allswell, to be Xico’s sous chef. Michael Russell, oregonlive.com, "Northwest Portland’s Xica Cantina brings Dorilocos indoors," 5 July 2019 Jason, whose resume includes a stint as head butcher at Publican Quality Meats in Chicago, will run the savory side while Katherine, who previously worked for MJ Bread bakery in Phoenix, brings expert pastry and baking skills to the project. Lauren Saria, azcentral, "This husband-and-wife team is moving their popular bakery and restaurant into the former Hula's building," 17 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eaton, having won the man’s trust, then butchered his quotes, put them in a different context, and created a social-media uproar that led to Scruton’s being sacked from his position. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Ben Penn’s Bad-Faith Hit Job on Leif Olson," 3 Sep. 2019 Ties between them were cut off in the early years of the Syrian uprising when Iran backed Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which was butchering Hamas’s Sunni coreligionists. The Economist, "New fronts open up in the conflict between Israel and Iran," 29 Aug. 2019 Last December, a New Jersey teen wrestler was forced to choose between competing or having his locs butchered. Jeneé Osterheldt, BostonGlobe.com, "Miss Teen USA is more than her hair, but those natural curls help teach girls to love themselves," 10 June 2019 Marc, the general manager, handles the front of the house, kibitzing with customers and ordering the wine, while Crosby works in the back, butchering in his whites. BostonGlobe.com, "Every grocer knows his expiration dates, and Marc Najarian is no exception. So the septuagenarian and his brother Crosby were busy consoling longtime customers as news spread that their family-owned market in the Huron Village neighborhood of Cambridge would be closing this weekend.," 13 Sep. 2019 The Lions had a terrible preseason last year and then were butchered at home on Monday Night Football in the opener, and never were able to climb over .500. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Here's where Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia sits on hot seat rankings," 19 Aug. 2019 Mexican police have found 19 dead bodies, some hung from an overpass and others butchered and dumped on the street, in what authorities suspect is a gang turf war, according to a report. Fox News, "19 bodies found hung, butchered in suspected Mexico gang turf war," 9 Aug. 2019 About 16,000 years ago, on the banks of a river in western Idaho, people kindled fires, shaped stone blades and spearpoints, and butchered large mammals. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "First people in the Americas came by sea, ancient tools unearthed by Idaho river suggest," 29 Aug. 2019 Mike the headless chicken Fruita Lloyd Olsen, a Fruita farmer, chopped Mike’s head off while butchering chickens in March 1945. Tom Noel, The Know, "16 strange, spooky and (mostly) true Colorado stories to tell around a campfire," 24 Aug. 2019

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 Celtic origin; akin to Middle Irish bocc he-goat — more at buck entry 1

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Statistics for butcher

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

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


butch·​er | \ ˈbu̇-chər How to pronounce butcher (audio) \

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

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to fake an opponent out of position

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