slaughter

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

verb

slaughtered; slaughtering; slaughters

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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
The data even contained a slaughter directed by the President of Nigeria, in which soldiers killed as many as two hundred civilians. Mike Spies, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2022 San Diego grid fans were officially introduced to night football last night at Navy field, the occasion being the 39 to ) slaughter the San Diego State college varsity gave to the game Marine Reserves. San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Sep. 2022 The slaughter of all our characters one by one—Maeve, Bernard, Stubbs, etc. Erik Kain, Forbes, 15 Aug. 2022 World War II briefly suspended this slaughter, which many governments were starting to realize threatened the survival of some whale species. Ryan Jones, The Conversation, 12 Aug. 2022 While atrocities in the nearby town of Bucha have captured the world’s attention and become case number one for Ukraine’s prosecutors, the slaughter there was not an aberration. Erika Kinetz, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Oct. 2022 Monitoring the pig supply chain across multiple farms, packer-slaughter plants, and distributors to ensure compliance with Prop 12 is near impossible. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 12 Oct. 2022 Cattle slaughter is high nationwide, temporarily increasing supply but portending tighter supplies in future years. Reuters, NBC News, 24 Aug. 2022 Grandpa is nervous all day and doesn’t know how to tell Karl that this slaughter is the last, because the ritual is more important than ever to the widower in question. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 25 June 2022
Verb
The decision to slaughter up to 17 million minks to protect humans from a mutation of the coronavirus was taken in haste and without the required legislation in place. Jan M. Olsen, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Nov. 2022 Potential adopters must complete a multi-page application and agree not to breed, sell, give away or send the horse to slaughter. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, 30 Aug. 2022 Stauffacher’s 18,000 chickens are all sold directly to the supermarket chain Migros, which supplies the farm with day-old chicks to raise, and collects the grown chickens 36 days later when they are taken to slaughter. Lisa Abend/zurich, Time, 22 Sep. 2022 After consultation with the USDA, a permit was granted allowing the chickens to be shipped to slaughter. Boyce Upholt, The New Republic, 19 Sep. 2022 July 25, for instance, is a good day to slaughter your livestock. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022 Those unknown third parties have either slaughtered Cedar or sent him to slaughter, according to the lawsuit. Michele Chandler, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2022 The ruling, handed down on May 11, less than two weeks before an 18-year-old gunman used a similar weapon to slaughter 19 schoolchildren and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, evoked an America beleaguered by frontier lawlessness. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2022 The plant is expected to employ about 800 people and could slaughter 1,500 head of cattle a day, according to its founders. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, 31 Aug. 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near slaughter

Cite this Entry

“Slaughter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slaughter. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

slaughter 1 of 2

noun

slaugh·​ter ˈslȯt-ər How to pronounce slaughter (audio)
1
: the act of killing
especially : the butchering of livestock for market
2
: destruction of human lives in large numbers (as in war or a massacre)

slaughter

2 of 2

verb

1
: to kill an animal for food : butcher
2
: to kill without mercy or in large numbers : massacre
slaughterer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on slaughter

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!


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ