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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of butcher in a Sentence

Noun the newest intern on the campaign is a butcher when it comes to writing press releases Verb They've hired someone to butcher the hogs. Many innocent people were butchered under his regime. The band has butchered my favorite song.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Back in Mexico, Silvia worked at a butcher shop that doubled as a birreria. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Quick & dirty: QuesaLoco food truck rides the birria wave," 19 Nov. 2020 Brunty Farms -- Although the family farm is in Bath Township, the best place to pick up a turkey is at their butcher shop, The Farmer’s Rail, located at 1572 Cleveland-Massillon Road in Akron. Chris M. Worrell, cleveland, "Give thanks for fresh, locally raised turkeys," 14 Nov. 2020 Belcampo Perhaps best known for its restaurants, Belcampo doubles as a butcher shop, selling meats raised on its Northern California farms. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area grocery delivery options so you can avoid stores this Thanksgiving," 12 Nov. 2020 Both produce remarkably thick, dark andouille and lengthy rosters of other butcher shop products. Ian Mcnulty | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "On the ‘Andouille Trail,’ exploring a River Parishes obsession link by link," 9 Nov. 2020 Long term, Halyburton and Peterson hope to grow the restaurant into a full-scale market more appropriate for the sizable Toro Bravo space, with a cheese counter, butcher shop, more grab-and-go items, coffee, wine and more. Michael Russell, oregonlive, "Lottie & Zula’s brings Rhode Island-style grinders and Portuguese muffin breakfast sandwiches to Portland," 29 Oct. 2020 Meiser and Wayman, too, have expanded with a gastropub, Engine Room, and Grass & Bone, a whole-carcass butcher shop/all-day café. Kevin West, Travel + Leisure, "Find Gastropubs, Cheese Shops, and World-class Farm-to-table Restaurants in This Small New England Town," 27 Oct. 2020 The store includes a butcher counter, grab-and-go food, fresh seafood, a deli, an in-house restaurant and bar, catering services, coffee and food shopping featuring local and national brands. Taylor Deville, baltimoresun.com, "Catonsville’s long-anticipated 818 Market, a grocery and restaurant, set to open doors mid-November," 28 Oct. 2020 This neighborhood supermarket includes an on-site butcher and a deli serving po-boys and prepared foods. Will Coviello, NOLA.com, "Gambit's 2020 Fall Dining Guide: Where to eat in the New Orleans area amid new reopening phase," 12 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For me, biryani is a memory of special occasions, of weddings and akikahs (baby-naming ceremonies) and visiting my grandfather’s village, where my uncles would butcher one of their own goats that day for the best, freshest meat. Sarah Sarder, Houston Chronicle, "These Desi restaurants are getting me through the pandemic and missing my mom," 21 Sep. 2020 When the four boats docked by the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory runway in the evening with a whale in tow, more than 150 cars sat waiting on shore to help butcher the animal and take home a share of meat, Michael Donovan said. Jenna Kunze, Anchorage Daily News, "Teenager helps land Utqiagvik’s first whale of fall season," 4 Sep. 2020 Traditionally the winning team received a calf (to butcher) in celebration, though more recently that has changed to just a free dinner and a small drape commemorating that year’s tournament. Sam Borden, National Geographic, "In Florence a centuries-old tradition fights for survival," 22 June 2020 Bienek would acquire live turtles and butcher them at the restaurant for turtle soup and other dishes, Kuranz recalled. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bienek was one of Milwaukee's top chefs in the 1980s, helping usher in a modern era," 18 June 2020 Gamebirds and small game are even simpler to butcher. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt: A Step-by-Step Guide for New Adult Hunters," 3 June 2020 Stores could butcher their own cuts in the back, but many stores trimmed their meat departments to stay competitive. NBC News, "What's up with the skyrocketing grocery prices — and when will it all stop?," 15 May 2020 And Smithfield Foods halted production at its plant in Sioux Falls, S.D. Each plant can butcher nearly 20,000 hogs a day. David Pitt, BostonGlobe.com, "Virus is expected to reduce meat selection and raise prices," 27 Apr. 2020 Some of the stores that carried the product butchered the packaging, costing him time and money. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "'Leverage the shield:' Ex-Detroit Lions RB Justin Forsett is building a business empire," 5 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about butcher

Time Traveler for butcher

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for butcher

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Butcher.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/butcher. Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for butcher


How to pronounce butcher (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!