the slaughter of a great number of people, as in battle; butchery; massacre.
Archaic. dead bodies, as of those slain in battle.

Origin of carnage

1590–1600; < Middle French < Italian carnaggio < Medieval Latin carnāticum payment or offering in meat, equivalent to Latin carn- (stem of carō) flesh + -āticum -age Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for carnage

Contemporary Examples of carnage

Historical Examples of carnage

  • The raven, wolf, and eagle are the regular epic accompaniments of battle and carnage.



  • There was a tribute of carnage, nor were they long engaged in the tumult of battle.

    Y Gododin


  • There was battle there, and death and carnage and utter destruction.


    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • The carnage had been terrible, and the fields were strewn with the dead and dying.

  • There is in man a similar temper, which is roused and stimulated by carnage.

British Dictionary definitions for carnage



extensive slaughter, esp of human beings in battle

Word Origin for carnage

C16: from French, from Italian carnaggio, from Medieval Latin carnāticum, from Latin carō flesh
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 carnage

c.1600, from Middle French carnage (16c.), from Old Italian carnaggio "slaughter, murder," from Medieval Latin carnaticum "flesh," from Latin carnaticum "slaughter of animals," from carnem (nominative caro) "flesh," originally "a piece of flesh," from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)). In English always used more of slaughters of men than beasts. Southey (1795) tried to make a verb of it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper