Law. the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought.
the killing of a human being by another; homicide.

Origin of manslaughter

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at man1, slaughter
Can be confusedhomicide manslaughter murder (see synonym study at kill1) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for manslaughter

homicide, murder, killing, crime, hit

Examples from the Web for manslaughter

Contemporary Examples of manslaughter

Historical Examples of manslaughter

  • "They were just about to try him for manslaughter when I left England," said Stanhope, laughing.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore

    Charles James Lever

  • But if you don't know how easy it is, it looks like a curtain-raiser for manslaughter.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • We shall all be sent to the castle, and perhaps transported for manslaughter.

    The English Spy

    Bernard Blackmantle

  • Probably, though, it will be brought in as manslaughter yes, almost certainly.

    We Two

    Edna Lyall

  • The most I can hope for is to make 'em drop that manslaughter case.

British Dictionary definitions for manslaughter



law the unlawful killing of one human being by another without malice aforethoughtCompare murder See also homicide, malice aforethought
(loosely) the killing of a human being
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 manslaughter

mid-14c., " act, crime, or sin of killing another human being," in battle or not, from man (n.) + slaughter (n.). Replaced Old English mannslæht (Anglian), mannslieht (West Saxon), from slæht, slieht "act of killing" (see slay). Etymologically identical with homicide, but in legal use usually distinguished from murder and restricted to "simple homicide."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

manslaughter in Culture



The unlawful killing of a person, without malice or premeditation. Involuntary manslaughter is accidental, such as running into someone with a car. Voluntary manslaughter is committed in the “heat of passion,” as in a spontaneous fight in which one person is killed by a strong blow. Manslaughter is usually considered less serious than murder. Both murder and manslaughter are types of homicide.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.