[ booch-er ]
See synonyms for butcher on Thesaurus.com
  1. a retail or wholesale dealer in meat.

  2. a person who slaughters certain animals, or who dresses the flesh of animals, fish, or poultry, for food or market.

  1. a person guilty of brutal or indiscriminate slaughter or murder.

  2. a vendor who hawks newspapers, candy, beverages, etc., as on a train, at a stadium, etc.

verb (used with object)
  1. to slaughter or dress (animals, fish, or poultry) for market.

  2. to kill indiscriminately or brutally.

  1. to bungle; botch: to butcher a job.

Origin of butcher

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English bocher, from Anglo-French; Old French bo(u)chier, equivalent to bo(u)c “he-goat” (from unattested Gaulish bucco-; compare Old Irish boc,Welsh bwch; akin to buck1) + -ier-ier2 (see -er2)

synonym study For butcher

5, 6. See slaughter.

Other words for butcher

Other words from butcher

  • butch·er·er, noun
  • un·butch·ered, adjective

Words Nearby butcher

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use butcher in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for butcher


/ (ˈbʊtʃə) /

  1. a retailer of meat

  2. a person who slaughters or dresses meat for market

  1. an indiscriminate or brutal murderer

  2. a person who destroys, ruins, or bungles something

  1. to slaughter or dress (animals) for meat

  2. to kill indiscriminately or brutally

  1. to make a mess of; botch; ruin

Origin of butcher

C13: from Old French bouchier, from bouc he-goat, probably of Celtic origin; see buck 1; compare Welsh bwch he-goat

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012