See also: Slaughter


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From Middle English slaughter, from Old Norse *slahtr, later slátr, from Proto-Germanic *slahtrą. Equivalent to slay +‎ -ter (as in laughter). Eventually derived from Proto-Indo-European *slak- (to hit, strike, throw). Related with Dutch slachten, German schlachten (both “to slaughter”).



slaughter (countable and uncountable, plural slaughters)

  1. (uncountable) The killing of animals, generally for food.
  2. A massacre; the killing of a large number of people.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book VI, 1773, The First Six Books of Milton's Paradise Lost, Edinburgh, page 416,
      For ſin, on war and mutual ſlaughter bent.
    • 1962 December, “Motive Power Miscellany: Western Region”, in Modern Railways, page 425:
      There was a massive slaughter of W.R. steam power at the conclusion of the summer timetable. In all, 169 locomotives were condemned.
  3. A rout or decisive defeat.
  4. A group of iguanas.
    Synonym: mess


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


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slaughter (third-person singular simple present slaughters, present participle slaughtering, simple past and past participle slaughtered)

  1. (transitive) To butcher animals, generally for food
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To massacre people in large numbers
  3. (transitive) To kill in a particularly brutal manner