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

The 20,000-square-foot Japan Village project encompasses 11 food stalls, a full-scale restaurant and cocktail bar and a grocery store with its own butcher shop and tofu market. Charles Passy, WSJ, "Brooklyn Gets a Japanese Answer to Manhattan’s Eataly," 17 Nov. 2018 Benjamin Black, 37, also had an 8-inch butcher's knife under his shirt when deputies approached, and tried to take an officer's gun, according to the report. Tiffini Theisen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Sloppiest Criminal Award? Florida man leaves blood all over crime scene, strolls past as deputies investigate: report," 1 May 2018 The internet declared him a hero after security footage at a butcher's shop/convenience store in Monterrey, Mexico spread like wildfire Wednesday. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "He's the internet's hero in a cowboy hat for taking the gun away, but who is he? | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 25 Apr. 2018 Pam Harris grew up a butcher's daughter in a proud union household. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Anti-union challengers are on the verge of victory at Supreme Court," 8 Feb. 2018 The original East London café, Climpson & Sons, made its home in a former butcher's shop and today, roasts some of the boldest beans in the city. Tom Marchant, Harper's BAZAAR, "103 Things to Do, See, Eat and Shop in London," 7 Dec. 2017 Blackberry Farm, located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in eastern Tennessee, has expansive gardens, its own butcher, charcuterie kitchen, and on-site cheesemaker. Ac Shilton, Outside Online, "The Food Adventures We Covet Most," 5 July 2018 My butcher tenderizes flank steak and then rolls it into pinwheels for attractive individual serving portions with a pleasant chewy flavor. Jeanmarie Brownson, charlotteobserver, "Control the heat to grill the perfect steak," 26 June 2018 Have your butcher grind your beef – chuck or sirloin are best choices – so it is loosely packed resulting in plump and juicy burgers. Teri Mena, sacbee, "You’ll flip over this recipe for burgers," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many of the bones seem to bear the marks of butchering by tool-wielding hominins. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists find 300,000-year-old stone tools in Saudi Arabia," 29 Oct. 2018 But the chicken in Bowman’s pan was grown in a bioreactor, not butchered from a bird. John Birdsall, WSJ, "Is Lab-Grown Meat Ready for Dinner?," 16 Oct. 2018 The older sister of the New York City nanny who butchered two young children testified Monday that the parents were to blame for their kids’ deaths. Fox News, "Sister of NYC nanny who killed two children blames parents for slayings," 20 Mar. 2018 These layers of privilege prevent people from the truth: Patrick Bateman is a serial killer, who lures, terrorizes, and butchers his victims. Ashley Nkadi, Teen Vogue, "15 Scary Movies Directed by Women Perfect for Halloween," 30 Oct. 2018 After scientists contacted by the tribe took samples for analysis, tribal members began butchering it, work that continued through the night. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Whale killed by ship near Neah Bay now a harvest celebration as Makah Nation prepares feast," 24 Aug. 2018 None of the animal bones found nearby bears cut marks or cracks from hammerstones to suggest that people were butchering any of those potentially tasty grazing animals at Shangchen. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Hominins lived in China 2.1 million years ago," 11 July 2018 Mills went on an American road trip, spending time talking to (and butchering animals with) 39 preppers in 18 different US states. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "What exactly are “preppers” prepping for?," 25 May 2018 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

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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Statistics for butcher

Last Updated

29 Nov 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

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