slaughter

noun
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

slaughter

verb
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

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Other Words from slaughter

Verb

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

Synonyms for slaughter

Synonyms: Noun

bloodbath, butchery, carnage, death, holocaust, massacre

Synonyms: Verb

butcher, massacre, mow (down)

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Naked bike riders disrupting traffic is OK, but black parents shutting down the Ryan for a short time — because City Hall hasn’t done enough to stop the slaughter in the streets — and that’s a problem? John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Father Mike's shutdown of Dan Ryan aimed directly at Mayor Emanuel," 5 July 2018 Floridians stopped the slaughter of our iconic wading birds for the plume trade, giving rise a century ago to the landmark Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Audubon as a conservation force. miamiherald, "Leigh-Ann Buchanan," 30 June 2018 Until last month, the city had two dueling rabbis who knew the rituals of slaughter, but each was old and very sick, and too feeble to wield a butcher’s knife. Andrew Higgins, BostonGlobe.com, "In Bukhara, 10,000 Jewish graves but just 150 Jews," 7 Apr. 2018 The Easter Sunday slaughter of Christians in Sri Lanka is a jolting reminder that killers motivated by religious animus continue to be a threat to innocents around the world. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Massacre of Christians," 21 Apr. 2019 What happened next—the slaughter of the family and servants—was one of the seminal events of the 20th century, a wanton massacre that shocked the world and still inspires a terrible fascination today. Simon Sebag Montefiore, Town & Country, "The Devastating True Story of the Romanov Family's Execution," 5 Oct. 2016 Good night, good luck Bloodlines 2 begins with a slaughter. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "15 years later, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is finally happening," 21 Mar. 2019 And nowadays there is hardly a television drama series that does not open with the slaughter and evisceration of some faceless young woman. John Banville, WSJ, "‘Sleeping With Strangers’ Review: Flickers of Desire," 22 Feb. 2019 The story—10 LeT gunmen arrive in Mumbai by boat and held India’s commercial capital hostage for three days of slaughter—is as familiar to Indians as the 9/11 attacks are to Americans. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Pakistan, Stop Coddling Terrorists," 29 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When vet school didn’t work out — Wasser gave up eating meat after having to slaughter a chicken — the family scraped together enough money to send him to Africa, the ultimate destination for a budding wildlife biologist. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Sam Wasser pours his intense passion for protecting wildlife into research and catching poachers," 21 May 2019 Ernest Medina, an Army captain who was charged with overall responsibility for the My Lai Massacre, when soldiers under his command in Vietnam slaughtered hundreds of civilians, but who was later acquitted at a court-martial, died May 8. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Ernest Medina, company commander acquitted in My Lai Massacre, dies at 81," 14 May 2018 When a gunman slaughtered 16 schoolchildren in Scotland in 1996, Britain effectively banned handguns. Paulo Trevisani, WSJ, "Brazil Government Doubles Down on Pro-Gun Stance After School Shooting," 15 Mar. 2019 Simmons makes liberal use of big, red title cards counting down how many camp counselors have been slaughtered. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "In You Might Be the Killer, a Twitter thread expands into a horror-comedy — barely," 5 Oct. 2018 The 28-year-old Australian is accused of slaughtering 50 people at two mosques in a 21-minute massacre last month, the deadliest terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "New Zealand Shooter to Face 50 Murder Charges," 4 Apr. 2019 Negan even added a cruel but ingenious touch, sending some of his men to slaughter at the hands of the Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom survivors to make the phony plans seem more real. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'The Walking Dead' recap: 'All-Out War' ends with Rick-Negan showdown," 15 Apr. 2018 A day after 17 people were slaughtered in a South Florida high school, police arrested an 11-year-old who is accused of threatening to shoot up her school in a nearby city. Aric Chokey, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Girl, 11, threatened to bring gun, kill classmates in Davie, police say," 15 Feb. 2018 Even though our capacity to slaughter each other has been growing — and the 20th century was rife with such atrocities — the overall trajectory has been that things keep getting better. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "Human history, in one chart," 8 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of slaughter

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for slaughter

Noun

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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Statistics for slaughter

Last Updated

11 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for slaughter

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

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More Definitions for slaughter

slaughter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of slaughter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of killing animals for their meat
: the violent killing of a large number of people

slaughter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of slaughter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to kill (an animal) for food
: to kill (many people) in a very violent way
informal : to defeat (someone or something) easily or completely

slaughter

noun
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

slaughter

verb
slaughtered; slaughtering

Kids Definition of slaughter (Entry 2 of 2)

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Comments on slaughter

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