- The definition of a massacre is the killing of a large number of people or animals at random and without mercy.
An example of a massacre was the Holocaust.
- the indiscriminate, merciless killing of a number of human beings
- a large-scale slaughter of animals
- Informal an overwhelming defeat, as in sports
Origin of massacreFrench ; from Old French maçacre, macecle, butchery, shambles ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
- The act or an instance of killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly.
- The slaughter of a large number of animals.
- Informal A severe defeat, as in a sports event.
transitive verbmas·sa·cred , mas·sa·cring , mas·sa·cres
- To kill indiscriminately and wantonly; slaughter.
- Informal To defeat decisively.
- Informal To botch; bungle: massacred the French language trying to order dinner.
Origin of massacreFrench, from Old French macecle, macecre, butchery, shambles.
- mass murder
(third-person singular simple present massacres, present participle massacring, simple past and past participle massacred)
- To kill in considerable numbers where much resistance can not be made; to kill with indiscriminate violence, without necessity, and contrary to the norms of civilized people; to butcher; to slaughter. (Often limited to the killing of human beings.)
1580, from Middle French massacre, from Old French macacre, macecle (“slaughterhouse, butchery”), from Medieval Latin mazacrium (“massacre, slaughter, killing”, also “the head of a newly killed stag”), from Middle Low German *matskelen (“to massacre”) (compare German metzeln (“massacre”)), frequentive of matsken, matzgen (“to cut, hew”), from Proto-Germanic *maitaną (“to cut”), from Proto-Indo-European *mei- (“small”). Akin to Old High German meizan (“to cut”), Dutch matsen (“to maul, kill”), dialectal German metzgern "to butcher, kill", German metzgen (“to cull, kill, slaughter cattle”), Metzger (“a butcher”), Metzelei (“massacre”), Gothic (maitan, “to cut”). See also the French term massacrer.