- the unnecessary, indiscriminate killing of a large number of human beings or animals, as in barbarous warfare or persecution or for revenge or plunder.
- a general slaughter, as of persons or animals: the massacre of millions during the war.
- Informal. a crushing defeat, especially in sports.
- to kill unnecessarily and indiscriminately, especially a large number of persons.
- Informal. to defeat decisively, especially in sports.
Origin of massacre
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for massacre
The massacre of cartoonists at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo is a crystallizing moment.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too
January 8, 2015
Several Muslim sites in France, including mosques have been attacked or vandalized since the Charlie Hebdo massacre.Europe’s Islam Haters Say We Told You So
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 8, 2015
What often is forgotten—and what Beck could probably stand to remember—is that the massacre was, technically, a firefight.Glenn Beck Is Now Selling Hipster Clothes. Really.
Ana Marie Cox
December 20, 2014
Will “loyalty cards” be enough to stave of a Republican massacre of House Democrats on Tuesday?The Democrats’ Simple Midterm Weapon
November 4, 2014
The massacre of more than 100 men, women, and children in Houla?The Kardashian Look-Alike Trolling for Assad
Noah Shachtman, Michael Kennedy
October 17, 2014
At last the door was forced in and the massacre was completed.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
The second extends from the peace of Nicias to the massacre of Melos.Stories from Thucydides
H. L. Havell
It would take only an untoward word, a false movement, to start a massacre.Slaves of Mercury
The massacre of his family––his wife and seven children––occurred in June, 1772.Chronicles of Border Warfare
Alexander Scott Withers
Whenever he came home drunk, he required a woman to massacre.L'Assommoir
- the wanton or savage killing of large numbers of people, as in battle
- informal an overwhelming defeat, as in a game
- to kill indiscriminately or in large numbers
- informal to defeat overwhelmingly
Word Origin and History for massacre
1580s, from Middle French massacrer "to slaughter" (16c.), from massacre (n.) "wholesale slaughter, carnage" (see massacre (n.)). Related: Massacred; massacring.
1580s, from Middle French massacre "wholesale slaughter, carnage," from Old French macacre, macecle "slaughterhouse, butchery," of unknown origin; perhaps related to Latin macellum "provisions store, butcher shop."