from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The killing of animals especially for food.
  • noun The killing of a large number of people; a massacre.
  • transitive verb To kill (animals) especially for food; butcher.
  • transitive verb To kill (people) in large numbers; massacre.
  • transitive verb To kill in a violent or brutal manner.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To kill; slay; especially, to kill wantonly, ruthlessly, or in great numbers; massacre: as, to slaughter men in battle.
  • To butcher; kill, as animals for the market or for food: as, to slaughter oxen or sheep.
  • noun The act of slaying or killing, especially of many persons or animals.
  • noun Applied to beasts, butchery; the killing of oxen, sheep, or other animals for market.
  • noun Great or sweeping reduction in the price of goods offered for sale.
  • noun Synonyms Havoc. See kill.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To visit with great destruction of life; to kill; to slay in battle.
  • transitive verb To butcher; to kill for the market, as beasts.
  • noun The extensive, violent, bloody, or wanton destruction of life; carnage.
  • noun The act of killing cattle or other beasts for market.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The killing of animals, generally for food; ritual slaughter (kosher and halal).
  • noun A massacre; the killing of a large number of people.
  • noun A rout or decisive defeat.
  • verb transitive To butcher animals, generally for food
  • verb transitive To massacre people in large numbers
  • verb transitive To kill in a particularly brutal manner

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the savage and excessive killing of many people
  • noun the killing of animals (as for food)
  • noun a sound defeat
  • verb kill (animals) usually for food consumption
  • verb kill a large number of people indiscriminately


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse slātr, butchery.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse slátr, from Proto-Germanic *sluHtís.


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  • "Selling horses for slaughter was an option when the country had facilities to take them, Butcher said, but now people are left with the cost of euthanasia plus disposal fees that can run into hundreds of dollars - if they don't decide to abandon the animals. Horse slaughter 'would be an incredible industry for Montana', generating jobs not just in the killings but also in areas such as preparation of meat for sale in Europe and packaging of dog food, he said."

    - AP, Montana legislator pushes for horse slaughterhouse,, 2 Feb 2009.

    The appropriately named Butcher of the story is Montana Republican Rep. Ed Butcher.

    February 11, 2009