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.
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.

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

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

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
verb (tr)
  1. to slaughter or dress (animals) for meat
  2. to kill indiscriminately or brutally
  3. to make a mess of; botch; ruin

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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper