- (in ancient Greece and Rome) a public sacrifice of 100 oxen to the gods.
- any great slaughter: the hecatombs of modern wars.
Origin of hecatomb
Examples from the Web for hecatomb
He escorted Chryseis on board and sent moreover a hecatomb for the god.The Iliad
The hunter turns faint, sick, as he contemplates this hecatomb of corpses.The Death Shot
They would first make a hecatomb of their hated foes, and then fall upon it.The Lone Ranche
Captain Mayne Reid
Make a hecatomb of the present Hamleys all at once, while you are about it.Wives and Daughters
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Pile up, high as heaven, your hecatomb of victims, offered to the God of love.The Spanish Brothers
- (in ancient Greece or Rome) any great public sacrifice and feast, originally one in which 100 oxen were sacrificed
- a great sacrifice
Word Origin and History for hecatomb
1590s, from Greek hekatombe "offering of 100 oxen," but generally "a great public sacrifice," from hekaton "one hundred" (perhaps from hen, neuter of eis "one" + *katon "hundred") + bous "ox." The first month of the Attic calendar (corresponding to July-August) was Hekatombaion, in which sacrifices were made.