1 of 2


mas·​sa·​cre ˈma-si-kər How to pronounce massacre (audio)
: the act or an instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty
witnessed the massacre of a boatload of refugees
: a cruel or wanton (see wanton entry 1 sense 1a) murder
: a wholesale slaughter of animals
Residents engaged in a citywide cat massacre.
: an act of complete destruction
the author's massacre of traditional federalist presuppositionsR. G. McCloskey
the Puritan massacre of statues and picturesRobert Hughes


2 of 2


massacred; massacring ˈma-si-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce massacre (audio)

transitive verb

: to kill by massacre
: mangle sense 2
words were misspelled and syntax massacredBice Clemow
massacrer noun

Examples of massacre in a Sentence

Noun The game turned out to be a complete massacre. the infamous massacre of more than 200 Sioux at Wounded Knee, South Dakota Verb Hundreds have been massacred in the uprising. The other team really massacred us on Saturday. He really massacred that song.
Recent Examples on the Web
This article includes graphic and disturbing accounts from the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel. Ruth Marks Eglash, Fox News, 18 Nov. 2023 Alarmed by an apparent surge of antisemitic content and misinformation on TikTok following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist massacre of Israeli civilians, a group of Jewish celebrities and influencers met this week with execs of the video app to voice their concerns. Todd Spangler, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 Parts of the deep state, to borrow a phrase, are revolting in opposition to his support for Israel against the Hamas terrorists responsible for the Oct. 7 massacre. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 15 Nov. 2023 The Islamist group’s terrorist strike on southern Israel marked the bloodiest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust and the grisly, hideous details of the massacres, as well as the ongoing plight of Israeli hostages, have stirred a widespread desire among the Israeli public for retribution. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2023 Advertisement Within three weeks of the massacre, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California — a legal aid and civil rights organization — raised more than $1 million for the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund, greatly surpassing the group’s $200,000 goal. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 Masas' chilling video footage, showing his search for signs of life among dozens of bodies after the massacre at the music festival, has been circulating online. Becky Perlow, ABC News, 8 Nov. 2023 Whoever stayed silent after the massacre of children does not hold the moral credibility to educate children. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 7 Nov. 2023 For example, look at the very understandable description of the events of the massacre of the 7th of October as a pogrom. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2023
The conflict in Gaza has raged since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists rampaged across southern Israel, massacring civilians in an attack that left more than 1,400 people dead and thousands more wounded as Hamas took more than 200 hostages into Gaza. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, 20 Nov. 2023 Hamas’s October 7 attack massacred around 1,200 Israelis, most of them civilians, and Hamas has claimed that some of the 240 Israeli hostages taken during the incursion have perished in IDF bombings. Sarah E. Parkinson, Foreign Affairs, 14 Nov. 2023 Forty-nine Jews were massacred by the mob in Kishinev. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 2023 The 1,400 men, women, and children who died on October 7 were massacred in horrific ways. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, 25 Oct. 2023 They’re all massacred while wearing cool varsity tees and big-collar shirts. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 25 Oct. 2023 The notion of a Hamas threat at the border took hold among Republicans almost immediately after Hamas massacred civilians in southern Israel on Oct. 7, which triggered subsequent bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2023 They are being held at gunpoint by the same group that massacred their friends and loved ones. Adam Sella, New York Times, 21 Oct. 2023 Chinese officials have yet to directly condemn Hamas for the rampage, in which the militants massacred at least 1,400 people and abducted nearly 200, according to Israeli authorities. Lyric Li, Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle French

First Known Use


circa 1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of massacre was circa 1578

Dictionary Entries Near massacre

Cite this Entry

“Massacre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
mas·​sa·​cre ˈmas-i-kər How to pronounce massacre (audio)
massacred; massacring
: to kill in a massacre : slaughter


2 of 2 noun
: the violent and cruel killing of a number of persons

More from Merriam-Webster on massacre

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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