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

Cows feet and the occasional bloody bovine head hang at the butcher stalls. Lindsay Cohn, ELLE Decor, "Why Every Culture Aficionado Needs to Visit Fez, Morocco," 6 Mar. 2018 This Santoku's quickly become my go-to while cooking, leaving my poor butcher's block to sit in the corner, collecting dust. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Chrissy Teigen's $15 Chef's Knife Works As Well As Ones That Are 3x As Expensive," 22 Oct. 2018 According to documents, investigators at the scene found a large butcher knife in the kitchen sink with blood and hair on the handle, as well as bloody clothing that had been placed in a laundry basket. Leah Allen, The Seattle Times, "Mount Vernon man charged with slaying girlfriend," 28 Aug. 2018 In 2015, the National Post reported, a British man took ayahuasca during a Peruvian retreat, began ‘‘screaming at the top of his lungs’’ and tried to attack another tourist with a butcher knife. Samantha Schmidt, BostonGlobe.com, "Arrests loom after Peruvian villagers ‘lynch’ tourist accused of killing their shaman," 24 Apr. 2018 Rubio called out the Instagram-famous butcher Monday night for posting a video of himself serving a steak dinner to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his entourage. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Why is Marco Rubio tweeting about Salt Bae?," 18 Sep. 2018 Meanwhile, Ezekiel's butcher father, played by Edward James Olmos, serves as his adviser and sometimes confidante as the young Reyes seeks just to survive. Russell Contreras, Fox News, "'Sons of Anarchy' spinoff 'Mayans M.C.' tackles border world," 30 Aug. 2018 Inside, the 250-square-foot home has butcher countertops, bamboo flooring, a washer and dryer, and a four-burner gas range and stove. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Adorable tiny house will be auctioned off for charity," 18 July 2018 In episodes spanning a century or so, family dramas mingle with tales of murder in colonial Ceylon, of an Angolan butcher who names his daughter for a sea nymph, of a man who defiantly sticks out his tongue as he is burned alive. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 16 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tables in every home were resplendently laid out with traditional Xinjiang dishes like homemade noodles, freshly butchered lamb and crispy nan bread. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "Empty places at the table: Uighur children missing in China," 20 Sep. 2018 Now the Makah Nation is butchering the animal and preparing a feast. 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 Multitool Eight more bifaces in the sample showed evidence of retouching that had partially covered old fire-striking wear, and some showed microscopic traces of wear from other tasks, like butchering animals or cutting up edible plants. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals used stone hand axes to strike a light," 26 July 2018 The United Kingdom and Austria have long prohibited fur farming — the practice of raising animals on ranches or in industrial facilities, and then butchering them for their pelts or hides. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Supervisor Katy Tang wants fur banned in SF," 23 Jan. 2018 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

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

22 Feb 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 \

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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