1. the act or practice of letting blood by opening a vein; phlebotomy.
  2. bloodshed or slaughter.
  3. bloodbath.
  4. Informal. severe cutbacks or reduction in personnel, appropriations, etc.: The company went through a period of bloodletting in the 1970s.

Origin of bloodletting

First recorded in 1175–1225, bloodletting is from the Middle English word blod letunge. See blood, let1, -ing1
Related formsblood·let·ter, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

bloodletter in Medicine


  1. The therapeutic removal of blood, usually from a vein.
Related formsbloodlet′ter n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.