slaugh·​ter | \ ˈslȯ-tər How to pronounce slaughter (audio) \

Definition of slaughter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of killing specifically : the butchering of livestock for market
2 : killing of great numbers of human beings (as in battle or a massacre) : carnage


slaughtered; slaughtering; slaughters

Definition of slaughter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to kill (animals) for food : butcher
2a : to kill in a bloody or violent manner : slay
b : to kill in large numbers : massacre
3 : to discredit, defeat, or demolish completely

Other Words from slaughter


slaughterer \ ˈslȯ-​tər-​ər How to pronounce slaughter (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for slaughter

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of slaughter in a Sentence

Noun the slaughter of innocent people all civilized nations should protest this senseless slaughter Verb Our team got slaughtered yesterday. modern poultry farms slaughter a vast number of chickens every day
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pigs bound for slaughter in the U.S. are getting stuck in Canada while their feed is stranded in the U.S. as new trucker vaccine rules exacerbate a shortage of drivers. Jen Skerritt,, 20 Jan. 2022 Once the animals reach a ranch that doesn’t have a history of deforestation, they are effectively born again — cleansed and ready to be sold to producers such as JBS for slaughter and shipment. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Rembrandt Farms, where the mass slaughter took place in March, is owned by billionaire Glen Taylor, one of the wealthiest Iowans, and an owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 28 Apr. 2022 Satellite images released this week showed what appeared to be a second mass grave near Mariupol, and local officials accused Russia of burying thousands of civilians to conceal the slaughter taking place there. David Keyton And Yesica Fisch, Chicago Tribune, 23 Apr. 2022 Satellite images released this week showed what appeared to be a second mass grave near Mariupol, and local officials accused Russia of burying thousands of civilians to conceal the slaughter taking place there. David Keyton, Yesica Fisch, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Apr. 2022 Years ago, Ripple revealed that aspen trees began to die off in Yellowstone following wolves’ slaughter in the 1920s. NBC News, 23 Apr. 2022 Local officials have accused Russia of burying up to 9,000 Ukrainian civilians to hide the slaughter taking place there in recent months. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2022 Western countries, which have been shipping arms to Ukraine and tightening sanctions on Russia to punish President Vladimir V. Putin for the invasion, saw the Kramatorsk slaughter as new justification to intensify their efforts. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the balance was coming from younglings… at least the ones Darth Vader didn't slaughter in the Jedi temple. Dalton Ross,, 10 Mar. 2022 Khial Mohammad Sultani, who the day before Ramadan was still living in an extended stay motel on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas, had to ride nearly 80 miles round trip into New Mexico in a taxi to go buy and slaughter a lamb for Ramadan. Giovanna Dell'orto And Mariam Fam, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Apr. 2022 Putin’s air superiority is enabling him to slaughter and terrorize the Ukrainian people. Christopher Keating,, 13 Mar. 2022 Neolithic hunters probably worked in teams to herd animals into the enclosed cells and slaughter them. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Mar. 2022 Even dictatorships that slaughter their own people are each welcomed at the United Nations and given a vote—and sometimes a seat on the Human Rights Council. Elliot Kaufman, WSJ, 4 Feb. 2022 Kelly Manno, a local DJ and future TikTok star, pulled a dinosaur costume from her car and fashioned a makeshift protest sign, Don’t slaughter, send to rescue. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 13 Mar. 2022 The trouble starts for the Laurents when Seamus and his peers hire a band of goons to slaughter the inhabitants of a Romany encampment on their lands. Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times, 17 Feb. 2022 To eradicate it, mink farms would need to slaughter all their mink and rebuild their mink populations from scratch. New York Times, 19 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'slaughter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of slaughter


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for slaughter


Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse slātra to slaughter; akin to Old English sleaht slaughter, slēan to slay — more at slay

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Time Traveler for slaughter

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

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Dictionary Entries Near slaughter

slaty gum



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Statistics for slaughter

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Slaughter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for slaughter


slaugh·​ter | \ ˈslȯ-tər How to pronounce slaughter (audio) \

Kids Definition of slaughter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of killing
2 : the act of killing and preparing animals for food
3 : destruction of many lives especially in battle


slaughtered; slaughtering

Kids Definition of slaughter (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on slaughter

Nglish: Translation of slaughter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of slaughter for Arabic Speakers


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