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

  • n. The killing of animals especially for food.
  • n. The killing of a large number of people; a massacre: "I could not give my name to aid the slaughter in this war, fought on both sides for grossly material ends” ( Sylvia Pankhurst).
  • transitive v. To kill (animals) especially for food; butcher.
  • transitive v. To kill (people) in large numbers; massacre.
  • transitive v. To kill in a violent or brutal manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. The act of slaying or killing, especially of many persons or animals.
  • n. Applied to beasts, butchery; the killing of oxen, sheep, or other animals for market.
  • n. Great or sweeping reduction in the price of goods offered for sale.
  • n. Synonyms Havoc. See kill.

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

  • n. the savage and excessive killing of many people
  • n. the killing of animals (as for food)
  • n. a sound defeat
  • v. kill (animals) usually for food consumption
  • v. 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.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "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