man·​slaugh·​ter | \ˈman-ˌslȯ-tər \

Definition of manslaughter 

: the unlawful killing of a human being without express or implied malice

Examples of manslaughter in a Sentence

She was convicted of manslaughter for driving while drunk and killing three people.

Recent Examples on the Web

Shelby was later charged with manslaughter in the incident. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Protesters are angry that Betty Shelby is teaching the course two years after shooting Terence Crutcher.," 28 Aug. 2018 Dorothy Bruns, 44 years old, was charged with manslaughter in the incident earlier this month. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Unborn Child of Actress Injured In Park Slope Crash Dies," 17 May 2018 Her classmate Michael Jerome Barber, 17, is charged with reckless manslaughter in connection with her death. Erin Edgemon,, "'Outraged' Birmingham mayor calls for public's help after sleeping 12-year-old shot," 30 Apr. 2018 Rainey faces up to 40 years in prison on the manslaughter and obstruction of justice convictions. Heather Nolan,, "Jury partially accepts self-defense claim in 2105 double homicide," 13 Apr. 2018 Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony. Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle, "No driving and home confinement for 20-year-old charged with killing woman and baby in DWI wreck," 2 Mar. 2018 Walsh was booked into jail on manslaughter, assault, reckless driving, reckless endangering and driving under the influence of alcohol charges. Andrew Theen,, "Gresham man charged with manslaughter for allegedly killing motorcyclist near Mount Hood," 14 Jan. 2018 Raymar Cooper, who had faced murder charges, pleaded guilty Monday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to voluntary manslaughter. Kevin Grasha,, "Man sentenced in fatal stabbing near Oakley Square," 11 June 2018 Katiria Tirado, 34, pleaded guilty in March to manslaughter in the death of her son, Matthew Tirado, 17. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Hartford mother sentenced for death of autistic teenage son, died of malnutrition," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'manslaughter.' 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 manslaughter

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for manslaughter

The first known use of manslaughter was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for manslaughter



English Language Learners Definition of manslaughter

law : the crime of killing a person without intending to do so


man·​slaugh·​ter | \ˈman-ˌslȯ-tər \

Kids Definition of manslaughter

: the unintentional but unlawful killing of a person


man·​slaugh·​ter | \ˈman-ˌslȯt-ər \

Medical Definition of manslaughter 

: the slaying of a human being specifically : the unlawful killing of a human being without express or implied malice

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man·​slaugh·​ter | \ˈman-ˌslȯ-tər \

Legal Definition of manslaughter 

: the unlawful killing of a human being without malice — compare homicide, murder

involuntary manslaughter

: manslaughter resulting from the failure to perform a legal duty expressly required to safeguard human life, from the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or from the commission of a lawful act involving a risk of injury or death that is done in an unlawful, reckless, or grossly negligent manner — see also reckless homicide at homicide

Note: The exact formulation of the elements of involuntary manslaughter vary from state to state especially with regard to the level of negligence required. In states that grade manslaughter by degrees, involuntary manslaughter is usually graded as a second- or third-degree offense.


: involuntary manslaughter occurring during the commission of a misdemeanor — compare felony murder at murder

voluntary manslaughter

: manslaughter resulting from an intentional act done without malice or premeditation and while in the heat of passion or on sudden provocation

Note: In states that grade manslaughter by degrees, voluntary manslaughter is usually a first-degree offense.

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