(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 *maitanÄ… (“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 ðŒ¼ðŒ°ðŒ¹ð„ðŒ°ðŒ½ (maitan, “to cut"). See also the French term massacrer.