[ hek-uh-tohm, -toom ]
See synonyms for hecatomb on Thesaurus.com
  1. (in ancient Greece and Rome) a public sacrifice of 100 oxen to the gods.

  2. any great slaughter: the hecatombs of modern wars.

Origin of hecatomb

1585–95; <Latin hecatombē<Greek hekatómbē<*hekatombwā, equivalent to hékaton one hundred + *-bwā, taken to be a derivative of boûs ox (see cow1)

Words Nearby hecatomb

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How to use hecatomb in a sentence

  • Thus it seemed the practice of making a hecatomb of dogs and cats on these sad occasions.

  • Then Cinna, who not long before would have laughed at faith in Hecate, sacrificed a hecatomb to her.

    Let us follow Him | Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • Or it may be, the last entertainment is that hecatomb they call a wedding breakfast, which celebrates the triumph of a rival.

    Endymion | Benjamin Disraeli
  • Above all the anguish and tears of that immense hecatomb will appear the shade of Lincoln as the symbol of hope and of pardon.

  • Yearly will Charless Bath claim its hecatomb; I know not why.

    My Experiences in a Lunatic Asylum | Herman Charles Merivale

British Dictionary definitions for hecatomb


/ (ˈhɛkəˌtəʊm, -ˌtuːm) /

  1. (in ancient Greece or Rome) any great public sacrifice and feast, originally one in which 100 oxen were sacrificed

  2. a great sacrifice

Origin of hecatomb

C16: from Latin hecatombē, from Greek hekatombē, from hekaton hundred + bous ox

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