verb (used with object), mas·sa·cred, mas·sa·cring.
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Origin of massacre
synonym study for massacre
OTHER WORDS FROM massacremas·sa·crer [mas-uh-krer], /ˈmæs ə krər/, nounun·mas·sa·cred, adjective
Words nearby massacre
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does massacre mean?
A massacre is a large-scale killing of people or animals, especially defenseless ones.
Massacre can also be used in a more general way to refer to killing on a large-scale, as in This war will result in the massacre of millions.
Massacre can also be used as a verb in both of these senses, as in The flock was massacred by the pack of wolves.
Massacre is also used figuratively as a noun and a verb in the context of a decisive defeat, especially a one-sided sporting event, as in It was a massacre—we lost 12-0.
Example: Every day, the news tells us of yet another massacre of innocent people by a person with a gun.
Where does massacre come from?
The first records of the word massacre come from around 1580. It comes from the Middle French verb massacrer. It may ultimately derive from the Vulgar Latin matteūca, meaning “mallet,” but its origin is uncertain.
When referring to a violent event, the word massacre is most often used in reference to war. In particular, it is used to refer to events in which soldiers are killing not just other soldiers but also civilians. In the United States, the word massacre has been used in reference to historic events that include violent killings of defenseless victims. For example, during the Boston Massacre of 1770, British soldiers fired on a crowd of colonists, killing five. Other events labeled massacres often involve the killing of many more people—thousands or even millions.
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How is massacre used in real life?
Massacre is often used in the context of violent events, but it’s commonly used in a figurative way, especially in the context of sports.
“This was a massacre. Nine people died on that day. Six of them were children.”
A Sky News investigation has discovered evidence of a recent potential war crime in northern Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the US and Britain
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 27, 2020
Wounded Knee was a massacre of hundreds of defenseless Native men, women, and children at the hands of U.S. soldiers. We must take steps to address this horrific injustice. Today, I am proud to join my colleagues on a bill to revoke Medals of Honor awarded for Wounded Knee.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) November 28, 2019
The Patriots massacre of the Colts on Sunday is going to be such a bloodbath that the NFL might have to move the game to HBO. Not for cable.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 12, 2015
Example sentences from the Web for massacre
Once he first learned about the massacre, Solomon-Simmons wanted to spread the word as widely as possible.
Like many other race riots and massacres in the South and in Florida, once the events left the front page of the newspapers, they were buried.A Forgotten Election Day Massacre in Florida That Still Haunts Today|Sean Braswell|October 23, 2020|Ozy
At Republicans’ convention in Cleveland in 2016, one month after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, this president showed he could say “LGBT.”
Inside Stonewall, Pine gave his officers the order not to shoot, fearing that any additional escalation could lead to a full-scale massacre.How the New York Media Covered The Stonewall Riots|LGBTQ-Editor|June 23, 2020|No Straight News
The massacre of cartoonists at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo is a crystallizing moment.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too|John Avlon|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Several Muslim sites in France, including mosques have been attacked or vandalized since the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
What often is forgotten—and what Beck could probably stand to remember—is that the massacre was, technically, a firefight.Glenn Beck Is Now Selling Hipster Clothes. Really.|Ana Marie Cox|December 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Will “loyalty cards” be enough to stave of a Republican massacre of House Democrats on Tuesday?
The massacre of more than 100 men, women, and children in Houla?
But the massacre succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectations of the conspirators.History of the Rise of the Huguenots|Henry Baird
It was a massacre rather than a battle, and Henry's spirit was humbled.The Normans|Sarah Orne Jewett
It is then natural to suppose that he also died in the massacre of July and August, 64.English Conferences of Ernest Renan|Ernest Renan
No word from her since we got the news of the massacre at Avon this afternoon!Carmen Ariza|Charles Francis Stocking
The Governor, also, sent down a body of troops to the scene of the massacre.The Middle Period 1817-1858|John William Burgess