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 butcher (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 Since its founding in 1983, Salem’s has grown into a bustling butcher, restaurant, caterer and market. Kathleen Squires, WSJ, "Spring Lamb: Pro Tips From a Halal Butcher," 17 Apr. 2021 But once Elliot arrives in the room where Kinney’s butcher, in Wellies and tighty-whities, is hacking apart Ioan, Evans unleashes his own style. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, "Gangs of London Recap: A Peaceful Solution," 11 Apr. 2021 Big names on the roster include master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi; Chef's Table star butcher Dario Cecchini; and Marcus Samuelsson, whose beach food truck will be joined by a seaside restaurant later this year. Hannah Walhout, Travel + Leisure, "Chef Daniel Boulud Has Opened His First Restaurant in the Caribbean," 9 Apr. 2021 Rob, who is an engineer, read books and watched a lot of YouTube videos to learn how to hunt, fish, butcher and process our proteins. Ally Dwyer As Told To Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, "I Didn’t Realize How Much My 9-to-5 Job Was Affecting My Health Until I Quit," 8 Apr. 2021 Hunger and thirst do not automatically translate into profits for the butcher, the baker, and the brewer. Art Carden, Forbes, "That The Profit Of One Man Is The Gain Of Another," 28 Feb. 2021 John Courtney is the head butcher and co-founder along with Chuck Heath and Dan Ibach. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Chop Shop is Park City’s first modern-day butcher shop," 21 Jan. 2021 Back in 1950 McDowell County, where innkeeper Goldstein-Clark resides, had 100,000 people, a kosher butcher and synagogues in Keystone, Welch and Kimball. Larry Luxner, sun-sentinel.com, "For West Virginia’s few Jews, the pandemic has offered silver linings," 30 Dec. 2020 Kenneth Lockyer, a retired supermarket butcher and vintage car tinkerer, has dementia and is in a skilled nursing facility in Los Angeles like this one. Los Angeles Times, "Surrounded by death, nursing home workers battle management and fear to protect patients," 27 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Townsends grow most of their own vegetables and butcher their meat. Mark Johnson, jsonline.com, "A Wisconsin mom gave birth in a COVID-19 coma before slipping to the brink of death," 18 Mar. 2021 There are instructions on how not to just cook a duck, but how to raise it and butcher it. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "Time travel for Christmas dinner with this 1904 Gold Medal Flour cookbook," 23 Dec. 2020 Doran also includes helpful sections on how to butcher and freeze venison, plus tips for getting the most out of the meat. Tony Jones Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "New cookbooks for hunters, anglers and foragers are field guides of a different sort," 10 Dec. 2020 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

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Butcher.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/butcher. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

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

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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