mas·​sa·​cre | \ ˈma-si-kər How to pronounce massacre (audio) \

Definition of massacre

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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
2 : a cruel or wanton (see wanton entry 1 sense 1a) murder
3 : a wholesale slaughter of animals Residents engaged in a citywide cat massacre.
4 : an act of complete destruction the author's massacre of traditional federalist presuppositions— R. G. McCloskey the Puritan massacre of statues and pictures— Robert Hughes


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

Definition of massacre (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to kill by massacre
2 : mangle sense 2 words were misspelled and syntax massacred— Bice Clemow

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Other Words from massacre


massacrer \ ˈma-​si-​kər-​ər How to pronounce massacre (audio) , -​krər \ noun

Synonyms for massacre

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Access to an online museum commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre appeared to be blocked in Hong Kong, the latest regression for Internet freedoms and a strike against a symbol of what distinguished the city from mainland China. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 Germany apologised on May 28 for its role in the slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time. Reuters, CNN, 22 Sep. 2021 In 1929, Walter White, who had witnessed the massacre as a boy, became the organization’s executive secretary. Ernie Suggs, ajc, 21 Sep. 2021 In season one that was Me Too, and the Las Vegas shooting massacre, and wildfires in California. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 18 Sep. 2021 Alexander was shot in the stomach and died in her arms as the gunmen continued their massacre. NBC News, 8 Sep. 2021 For almost 60 years, people seldom mentioned the massacre. Lane Degregory,, 5 Sep. 2021 Hewing closely to the historical record, Danticat captures the horrors of Dominican dictator General Rafael Trujillo’s massacre in 1937 of tens of thousands of Haitians living and working along the border. Marlene Daut, The Conversation, 26 July 2021 President Joe Biden was the first president to travel to Tulsa, Okla., and commemorate the massacre. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To underscore the seriousness of the defendant’s plan to massacre Jews, the prosecutor produced copious abstracts from Balliet’s writing. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, 24 June 2021 Within months, mobs in Clinton, Mississippi would massacre dozens of African Americans; the next year, more would die in Hamburg, South Carolina. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 21 June 2021 The end product is a gummy, poisonous net called a neutrophil extracellular trap, or NET, that can massacre scores of microbes at once. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 17 June 2021 Were the protesters worried that vengeful Azerbaijanis, at the time advancing victoriously across land Armenians seized in 1994, would massacre any Armenians left behind in the retreat? Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 31 May 2021 This kind of visibility has added to the climate of hatred that encouraged a white nationalist last year to drive ten hours to massacre twenty-three Latinx people in El Paso. Graciela Mochkofsky, The New Yorker, 14 Oct. 2020 In Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, thousands of Rohingya Muslims were massacred by military forces in 2017. Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2019 The finds were uncovered at three sites in the Arnsberg forest, where members of the Waffen-SS and German army massacred 208 Polish and Russian forced laborers in March 1945, just before the end of World War II. Fox News, 21 May 2020 In July 1995 Bosnian Serb authorities massacred more than eight thousand Muslim prisoners at Srebrenica, a slaughter that provoked public outrage in Europe and the US. Steve Coll, The New York Review of Books, 13 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'massacre.' 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 massacre


circa 1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for massacre

Noun and Verb

Middle French

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Time Traveler for massacre

Time Traveler

The first known use of massacre was circa 1578

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Dictionary Entries Near massacre

Massachusetts fern


mass action

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Statistics for massacre

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Massacre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for massacre



English Language Learners Definition of massacre

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the violent killing of many people
: a game or competition in which one person or team easily defeats another



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

: to violently kill (a group of people) : slaughter
: to easily defeat (someone or something)
: to do (something) very badly : to ruin (something) because of lack of skill


mas·​sa·​cre | \ ˈma-sə-kər How to pronounce massacre (audio) \

Kids Definition of massacre

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the violent and cruel killing of a large number of people


massacred; massacring

Kids Definition of massacre (Entry 2 of 2)

: to kill a large number of people in a violent and cruel manner

More from Merriam-Webster on massacre

Nglish: Translation of massacre for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of massacre for Arabic Speakers


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