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

All animals are sentient beings and even those raised for slaughter are entitled to be treated humanely. BostonGlobe.com, "Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine - The Boston Globe," 14 Sep. 2019 Northern farmers often sell their animals for slaughter in the south, and the meat often is shipped back into Northern Ireland or elsewhere in Britain. Washington Post, "These 5 countries are busy prepping for a post-Brexit world," 6 Sep. 2019 Senate Republicans need to start being honest with themselves about what is happening during these attacks and act to stop the slaughter. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, "Editorial: Innocent lives are in the hands of the U.S. Senate," 5 Aug. 2019 The memoirs of former Obama aides follow a similar pattern in reckoning with the catastrophe in Syria: the aides discuss their revulsion at the slaughter and their desire to use American power to ameliorate it. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 The annual event leads to the slaughter and consumption of thousands of dogs and cats each year. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Everything You Need to Know about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, and How You Can Help End It," 21 June 2019 In the aftermath of this slaughter, the number of suicide bombings against Jewish citizens increased. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Incitement': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 For critics of the initiative, the invocation of R2P to justify Anglo-French-US military action in Libya proved them right—even though a civilian slaughter in Benghazi had almost certainly been imminent. Janine Di Giovanni, The New York Review of Books, "Sierra Leone, 2000: A Case History in Successful Interventionism," 7 June 2019 In hundreds of grocery stores here, shoppers can pay a few extra cents for eggs stamped with a heart and the word respeggt—to show that they were laid by hens that did not hatch alongside male chicks destined for slaughter. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "‘Ethical’ eggs could save male chicks from mass slaughter," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is a happier end than that of the last sheep to graze on the Heath, in the nineteen-fifties: they were imminently headed to slaughter at Smithfield, the meat market in central London. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Brexit Warnings to Be Found in Sheep Grazing in a London Park," 3 Sep. 2019 The 26 fishermen permitted to take part in the hunt are also allowed to slaughter 3 different species of whale. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Controversial Dolphin Hunt, Likely to Leave 1,400 Dolphins Captured or Killed, Begins in Japan," 3 Sep. 2019 Under a 2001 agreement between federal and state officials, thousands of bison attempting to migrate to winter feeding grounds outside Yellowstone have been captured and sent to slaughter. Felicia Fonseca, BostonGlobe.com, "Grand Canyon to make second run at corralling bison herd," 2 Sep. 2019 In a giant walled courtyard, Khaleesi tricked the Slave Masters of Astapor, freeing the Unsullied army to slaughter and burn them to a crisp with a single Dracarus. Nicolas Stecher, Billboard, "MOGA Festival Returning to 'Game of Thrones' Red City, Drops Lineup With Kenny Dope, Blondish & More," 7 Aug. 2019 Centuries before Wade and his peers transformed the NBA tunnel, Roman gladiators paraded around the Colosseum pit flaunting purple-and-gold cloaks—or, as with second-century emperor Commodus, a lion’s pelt—before trying to slaughter one another. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "How Athletes Are Turning Arena Entrances into Fashion Shows," 22 July 2019 After that, it will be sent to slaughter and taken to market. Fox News, "Award-winning lamb under investigation for performance-enhancing drugs," 21 July 2019 Book 19’s purpose is to escalate tensions; Odysseus has infiltrated his own house and is stockpiling weapons to slaughter the suitors the next day. Anne Carson, Harper's magazine, "From a manuscript in progress. Carson’s collection of performance pieces," 10 June 2019 Cattle ranchers are having to decide whether to cull livestock or buy food, with the number of cattle sent to slaughter expected to top 7.8 million by December, according to industry body Meat and Livestock Australia, up 9% on 2017. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "‘One Crop in Seven Years’: Drought Plagues Australia’s Farmers," 14 Aug. 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

12 Oct 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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