man·​slaugh·​ter | \ ˈman-ˌslȯ-tər How to pronounce manslaughter (audio) \

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 Freeman is charged with manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. Carol Robinson |, al, "Fairfield mom indicted in 10-month-old son’s 2018 blunt force trauma death," 25 Jan. 2021 Prosecutors charged her with manslaughter and obstruction in August. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer,, "Woman accused of fatally choking fiance ahead of deadly hit-and-run trial," 13 Jan. 2021 Slatten, who fired the first shots during the 2007 incident, was sentenced to life in prison on a first-degree murder charge, and the three other guards were convicted of manslaughter and weapons charges. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "UN experts: Trump violated the Geneva Conventions by pardoning Blackwater contractors," 30 Dec. 2020 Boudin announced the manslaughter and other charges against Samayoa on Nov. 23, then two weeks later announced that a grand jury had indicted another, current San Francisco police officer in another use-of-force case. Megan Cassidy,, "Ex-SFPD cop pleads not guilty to manslaughter in fatal shooting case," 28 Dec. 2020 Nicholas Slatten was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being convicted of murder, while Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of manslaughter and weapons charges. NBC News, "Trump's pardon of Blackwater contractors convicted of massacre greeted with derision, grief," 23 Dec. 2020 He is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges. CBS News, "Fatal shooting of Black teen roils liberal Oregon town," 4 Dec. 2020 Sanstead was briefly treated at the hospital before he was arrested and booked into a Maricopa County jail on suspicion of endangerment, reckless manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Jamie Landers, The Arizona Republic, "Man indicted for manslaughter in crash that killed Salt River officer in 2019," 3 Dec. 2020 An Arizona couple, whose children and niece drowned last year when their family car was swept away in a surging creek, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and child abuse charges on Tuesday. Daniella Genovese, Fox News, "Arizona couple pleads not guilty to manslaughter, child abuse after kids drown in family car," 2 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for manslaughter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for manslaughter

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Manslaughter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 How to pronounce manslaughter (audio) \

Kids Definition of manslaughter

: the unintentional but unlawful killing of a person


man·​slaugh·​ter | \ ˈman-ˌslȯt-ər How to pronounce manslaughter (audio) \

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 How to pronounce manslaughter (audio) \

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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