hec·​a·​tomb ˈhe-kə-ˌtōm How to pronounce hecatomb (audio)
: an ancient Greek and Roman sacrifice of 100 oxen or cattle
: the sacrifice or slaughter of many victims

Examples of hecatomb in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And if, as Gawande suggests, an individual surgeon’s expertise proceeds by means of a calculated willingness to make mistakes, then the profession marches forward only by trampling over a hecatomb of nameless victims. Will Self, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 The vast majority of this hecatomb would be people with limited life expectancies. John P.a. Ioannidis, STAT, 17 Mar. 2020 After the hecatombs created in communism’s name, such a call to arms is evidence of a faith untroubled when prophecy fails again and again. Andrew Stuttaford, WSJ, 29 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hecatomb.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin hecatombe, from Greek hekatombē, from hekaton hundred + -bē; akin to Greek bous cow — more at hundred, cow

First Known Use

circa 1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hecatomb was circa 1592

Dictionary Entries Near hecatomb

Cite this Entry

“Hecatomb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hecatomb. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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