[ mas-uh-ker ]
/ ˈmæs ə kər /


the unnecessary, indiscriminate killing of a large number of human beings or animals, as in barbarous warfare or persecution or for revenge or plunder.
a general slaughter, as of persons or animals: the massacre of millions during the war.
Informal. a crushing defeat, especially in sports.

verb (used with object), mas·sa·cred, mas·sa·cring.

to kill unnecessarily and indiscriminately, especially a large number of persons.
Informal. to defeat decisively, especially in sports.

Origin of massacre

1575–85; (noun) < Middle French massacre, noun derivative of massacrer, Old French maçacrer, macecler, probably < Vulgar Latin *matteūcculāre, verbal derivative of *matteūca mallet (see mashie, mace1); (v.) < Middle French massacrer


mas·sa·crer [mas-uh-krer] /ˈmæs ə krər/, nounun·mas·sa·cred, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for massacre

British Dictionary definitions for massacre

/ (ˈmæsəkə) /


the wanton or savage killing of large numbers of people, as in battle
informal an overwhelming defeat, as in a game

verb (tr)

to kill indiscriminately or in large numbers
informal to defeat overwhelmingly

Derived forms of massacre

massacrer (ˈmæsəkrə), noun

Word Origin for massacre

C16: from Old French, of unknown origin
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