[ slaw-ter ]
/ ˈslɔ tər /


the killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food.
the brutal or violent killing of a person.
the killing of great numbers of people or animals indiscriminately; carnage: the slaughter of war.

verb (used with object)


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Origin of slaughter

1250–1300; Middle English slaghter, slahter, slauther (noun) < Old Norse slātr, earlier slāttr, slahtr

SYNONYMS FOR slaughter

2 murder.
4–6 Slaughter, butcher, massacre all imply violent and bloody methods of killing. Slaughter and butcher, primarily referring to the killing of animals for food, are used also of the brutal or indiscriminate killing of human beings: to slaughter cattle; to butcher a hog. Massacre indicates a general slaughtering of helpless or unresisting victims: to massacre the peasants of a region.


slaugh·ter·er, nounslaugh·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·slaugh·tered, adjective

Definition for slaughter (2 of 2)

[ slaw-ter ]
/ ˈslɔ tər /


Frank,1908–2001, U.S. novelist and physician. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for slaughter

British Dictionary definitions for slaughter

/ (ˈslɔːtə) /


verb (tr)

Derived forms of slaughter

slaughterer, nounslaughterous, adjective

Word Origin for slaughter

Old English sleaht; related to Old Norse slāttar hammering, slātr butchered meat, Old High German slahta, Gothic slauhts, German Schlacht battle
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

Idioms and Phrases with slaughter


see like a lamb to the slaughter.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.