- the killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food.
- the brutal or violent killing of a person.
- the killing of great numbers of people or animals indiscriminately; carnage: the slaughter of war.
- to kill or butcher (animals), especially for food.
- to kill in a brutal or violent manner.
- to slay in great numbers; massacre.
- Informal. to defeat thoroughly; trounce: They slaughtered our team.
Origin of slaughter
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- Frank,1908–2001, U.S. novelist and physician.
Examples from the Web for slaughter
To most of the world, Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator, responsible for the slaughter of 100,000 or more.Welcome to Assadville, USA
November 11, 2014
Getting people to pay attention to a possible new round of slaughter in the region proved difficult.Confronting George Clooney’s Critics on South Sudan
October 7, 2014
In her white prom dress, Carrie is like a lamb to the slaughter, the blood besmirching her innocence.Sex, Blood and Maroon 5: Pop Culture’s Wounds Run Deep
October 3, 2014
When Dan Honig was getting ready to slaughter a steer for the first time, he expected to feel devastated.The Bioethicist Turned Butcher
September 28, 2014
It reminded her of the slaughter that the Nazis perpetrated on her relatives in the Ukraine.Mossad’s Greatest Female Assassin: An Excerpt From ‘Sylvia Rafael’
Ram Oren, Moti Kfir
September 20, 2014
In the mean time, the slaughter was about to commence on the other side.The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, Oregon and California
Brevet Col. J.C. Fremont
I will hunt out General O'Neill, and interview him on the field of slaughter.In the Midst of Alarms
He should never have had to boast of the slaughter of our men.Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II
Charlotte Mary Yonge
That attack had been repulsed with slaughter, and the brigade was concentrated.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
We lose great battles there and Fredericksburg they say was just a slaughter of our men.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
- the killing of animals, esp for food
- the savage killing of a person
- the indiscriminate or brutal killing of large numbers of people, as in war; massacre
- informal a resounding defeat
- to kill (animals), esp for food
- to kill in a brutal manner
- to kill indiscriminately or in large numbers
- informal to defeat resoundingly
Word Origin and History for slaughter
c.1300, "killing of a cattle or sheep for food, killing of a person," from a Scandinavian *slahtr, akin to Old Norse slatr "a butchering, butcher meat," slatra "to slaughter," slattr "a mowing" from Proto-Germanic *slukhtis, related to Old Norse sla "to strike" (see slay (v.)) + formative suffix (cf. laugh/laughter). Meaning "killing of a large number of persons in battle" is attested from mid-14c. Old English had slieht "stroke, slaughter, murder, death; animals for slaughter;" cf. sliehtswyn "pig for killing."
1530s, "butcher an animal for market," from slaughter (n.). Meaning "slay wantonly, ruthlessly, or in great numbers" is from 1580s. Related: Slaughtered; slaughtering.