Definition of slaughter in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈslôdər/


[with object]
1Kill (animals) for food.
Example sentences
  • When I say meat, I do mean slaughtered animals killed for food.
  • I don't have a moral dilemma when it comes to slaughtering animals for food, just so long as it is done humanely.
  • Thus, even though nomads have to get much of their food by slaughtering animals from their herds, their way of life is still religiously respectable.
kill, butcher
1.1Kill (people or animals) in a cruel or violent way, typically in large numbers: innocent civilians are being slaughtered
More example sentences
  • The new powers will enable the Executive to slaughter pet birds - and even dogs and cats.
  • The three feuding groups adopted extremely cruel methods to slaughter each other and engage in ethnic cleansing.
  • If these officials are telling the truth, they gave in because they believed NATO was about to destroy urban Serbia and slaughter the civilian population.
massacre, murder, butcher, kill (off), annihilate, exterminate, liquidate, eliminate, destroy, decimate, wipe out, put to death
literary slay
1.2 informal Defeat (an opponent) thoroughly: our team was slaughtered in the finals
More example sentences
  • Bradford took the morning's foursomes 8-4 with Ian Martin and Roche slaughtering their opponents 7 & 6.
  • In the first game of the summer cup, Walkers' dominoes team were slaughtered.
  • I'm going ‘ah no, I've just got away’ but up we went and I got hammered, absolutely slaughtered.


1The killing of animals for food.
Example sentences
  • The course covers meat processing from slaughter to packaging, food preparation and export compliance, health and safety, and communication skills.
  • Both pathogens can colonise the intestines of beef cattle and get into the food chain during slaughter at the abattoir.
  • The Bible records many examples of the slaughter of animals for food, products or purpose.
1.1The killing of a large number of people or animals in a cruel or violent way; massacre: the slaughter of 20 peaceful demonstrators
More example sentences
  • Yet Amin took the use of murder as a way of dealing with all enemies, real or imagined, to new heights in Uganda and conducted his campaign of slaughter with cruel relish.
  • Those possibilities, it seems, now extend to violent slaughter of the type previously monopolised by male action heroes.
  • Brutal conquests to be sure, his bloody wake of slaughter in the violent thirteenth century led to the murder of untold millions.
massacre, murdering, (mass) murder, mass killing, mass execution, annihilation, extermination, liquidation, decimation, carnage, butchery, genocide
literary slaying
carnage, bloodshed, bloodletting, bloodbath
1.2 informal A thorough defeat: an absolute slaughter by the Red Sox
More example sentences
  • Not so long ago, Yorkshire's star Tory retreated onto the backbenches after leading his side to a slaughter in 2001, but it represented the dawn of a new career making mega-bucks.
  • Indeed, such was the Aussie dominance in the third quarter that a slaughter seemed on the cards and was only avoided by some deep digging into inner reserves by a number of the Irish players.
  • With such a remarkable home record, Celtic's problem is that, even when they are not at full-strength, anything less than a routine slaughter will be deemed inadequate.



Pronunciation: /ˈslôd(ə)rər/
Example sentences
  • This group contains our senseless killers and slaughterers.
  • ‘Some bury them deep under the ground, but others may send the pigs to the underground slaughterers and then sell them in the market,’ Tian said.
  • There is the kill team, meeting one morning in foot-and-mouth infested Dumfries: a vet, two slaughterers and two labourers.


Pronunciation: /ˈslôd(ə)rəs/
Example sentences
  • But if American politicians echo the terrorists' blood-lusting, this tragedy will have been turned to slaughterous folly.
  • As the author rightly acknowledges, it is not a history of the slaughterous campaign, but the story of the experiences of the 1st and 6th battalions.
  • The slaughterous conflict gave Paraguay political instability that eventually produced its most recent tyrant, Alfredo Stroessner, who took power in 1954 and ruled with an iron fist for thirty-five years.


Middle English (as a noun): from Old Norse slátr 'butcher's meat'; related to slay1. The verb dates from the mid 16th century.

  • Slaughter is from Old Norse slátr ‘butcher's meat’. Slay (Old English) is related.

Words that rhyme with slaughter

aorta, daughter, exhorter, exporter, extorter, Horta, importer, mortar, porter, quarter, snorter, sorter, sporter, supporter, three-quarter, torte, transporter, underwater, water

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: slaugh·ter

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