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See more 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.
  3. a person guilty of brutal or indiscriminate slaughter or murder.
  4. a vendor who hawks newspapers, candy, beverages, etc., as on a train, at a stadium, etc.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to slaughter or dress (animals, fish, or poultry) for market.
  2. to kill indiscriminately or brutally.
  3. to bungle; botch: to butcher a job.
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Origin of butcher

1250–1300; Middle English bocher < Anglo-French; Old French bo(u)chier, equivalent to bo(u)c he-goat (< Gaulish *bucco-; compare Old Irish boc, Welsh bwch; akin to buck1) + -ier -ier2 (see -er2)
Related formsbutch·er·er, nounun·butch·ered, adjective

Synonyms for butcher

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3. killer, cutthroat. 5, 6. See slaughter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for butchered

slaughter, mutilate, cut, clean, liquidate, salt, joint, cure, stick, smoke, carve, dress, destroy, wreck, spoil, botch

Examples from the Web for butchered

Contemporary Examples of butchered

Historical Examples of butchered

  • Nay, he would not be butchered like a bird on a bough, he would fall fighting.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • Wonder you hadn't riz up off that sand and butchered me where I stood.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • And if you will, you may claim your rights against me and butcher me as you butchered him.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

  • "We can't leave the wounded to be butchered," was the reply.

    For the Liberty of Texas

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • Where are the bodies of the thousands that have been butchered?

British Dictionary definitions for butchered


  1. a retailer of meat
  2. a person who slaughters or dresses meat for market
  3. an indiscriminate or brutal murderer
  4. a person who destroys, ruins, or bungles something
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verb (tr)
  1. to slaughter or dress (animals) for meat
  2. to kill indiscriminately or brutally
  3. to make a mess of; botch; ruin
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Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for butchered



c.1300, from Anglo-French boucher, from Old French bochier "butcher, executioner" (12c., Modern French boucher), probably literally "slaughterer of goats," from bouc "male goat," from Frankish *bukk or some other Germanic source (see buck (n.1)) or Celtic *bukkos "he-goat." Figurative sense of "brutal murderer" is attested from 1520s. Butcher-knife attested from 18c. Related: Butcherly.

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1560s, from butcher (n.). Related: Butchered; butchering. Re-nouned 1640s as butcherer.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper