Definition of slaughter in English:



[with object]
  • 1Kill (animals) for food.

    ‘at present the abattoir is slaughtering animals for the domestic market’
    • ‘We eat Halaal food, animals slaughtered in a special religious way.’
    • ‘I was horrified at abuses of animal welfare regulations in the treatment of sheep being slaughtered at the premises.’
    • ‘Various cows and calves were slaughtered after the animals were inspected by a team from the council and a veterinarian.’
    • ‘By the time the animal is slaughtered for food, it has ingested high concentrations of radioactive material.’
    • ‘That's not exactly an impressive figure, especially since that leather is obtained from animals who are slaughtered for food anyway.’
    • ‘Many are slaughtered for pet food or sold to continental abattoirs.’
    • ‘Every year in Canada thousands of horses are slaughtered; not for glue, or dog food, but for human consumption.’
    • ‘Beef, chicken, lamb and turkey meat is acceptable only if the animals are slaughtered according to Islamic law.’
    • ‘No cattle aged more than 30 months were allowed to be slaughtered for food.’
    • ‘No rights are granted to animals raised and slaughtered for food.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This year too, animals including camels, cows and sheep were slaughtered openly violating the Animal Sacrifices Act.’
    • ‘It is possible to humanely raise and slaughter a variety of food animals, including free-range poultry and beef cattle.’
    • ‘I don't have a moral dilemma when it comes to slaughtering animals for food, just so long as it is done humanely.’
    • ‘Animals that once had to be slaughtered to provide winter food could now be sustained through the winter for future ploughing.’
    • ‘Once the pigs are slaughtered, Graham, who is a butcher by trade, makes sausages using his own recipes.’
    • ‘Its one diseased cow was slaughtered in January and probably made into pet food.’
    • ‘When I say meat, I do mean slaughtered animals killed for food.’
    • ‘So we slaughtered our own pigs and chickens and stuff for food.’
    • ‘Animals are slaughtered, and food and drinks are brought to feed the mourners.’
    kill, butcher
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    1. 1.1 Kill (people or animals) in a cruel or violent way, typically in large numbers.
      ‘innocent civilians are being slaughtered’
      • ‘Whole villages were put to the sword, livestock was slaughtered, crops destroyed and famine and disease decimated the survivors.’
      • ‘Its leader, Richard Plantagenet, reoccupied Acre, executing prisoners and slaughtering its inhabitants.’
      • ‘Now that they terrorise, murder, and, frankly, slaughter innocent children, we are at the most depraved end of the spectrum of all.’
      • ‘But troops from his division slaughtered more than 300 civilians at My Lai in 1968.’
      • ‘The three feuding groups adopted extremely cruel methods to slaughter each other and engage in ethnic cleansing.’
      • ‘Several thousand were slaughtered in this sporadic sectarian violence which continued intermittently after 1795.’
      • ‘Since March, 20,000 ducks have been slaughtered and about a million eggs have been destroyed, it said.’
      • ‘Under Rather's gentle coaxing, Southards described slaughtering Vietnamese civilians, making his work appear to be that of the North Vietnamese.’
      • ‘The Nazis slaughtered millions of innocent civilians.’
      • ‘He roared in anger and charged toward Anya while she was distracted and slaughtered her violently.’
      • ‘I think, on the other hand, if we are over there slaughtering civilians, that is a great story and we ought to report it immediately.’
      • ‘The new powers will enable the Executive to slaughter pet birds - and even dogs and cats.’
      • ‘Over the next few hours, at least 350 civilians were systematically slaughtered.’
      • ‘Thousands of innocent civilians were slaughtered by the various factions seeking to exterminate their rival tribes.’
      • ‘Some 80,000 people - the vast majority civilians - were slaughtered in that war.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now Hallam has become a renegade, slaughtering innocent civilians without a shred of guilt or remorse.’
      • ‘Councillor Douglas said civilians would have been slaughtered had the device gone off.’
      • ‘Do not rely on strategic bombing that slaughters civilians and breeds more hatred - and therefore more terrorists.’
      • ‘Leaders of the Catholic Church still insist that anything from 25,000 to 35,000 civilians were slaughtered.’
      massacre, murder, butcher, kill, kill off, annihilate, exterminate, execute, liquidate, eliminate, destroy, decimate, wipe out, mow down, cut down, cut to pieces, put to the sword, put to death, send to the gas chambers
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    2. 1.2informal Defeat (an opponent) thoroughly.
      ‘the first team were slaughtered’
      • ‘If they are indeed as poor as Mr English and others would have us believe, then a media slaughtering of the other teams is long overdue.’
      • ‘I'm going ‘ah no, I've just got away’ but up we went and I got hammered, absolutely slaughtered.’
      • ‘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.’
      defeat utterly, trounce, annihilate, beat hollow, drub, give a drubbing to, crush, rout
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mass noun
  • 1The killing of animals for food.

    ‘thousands of calves were exported to the continent for slaughter’
    • ‘The course covers meat processing from slaughter to packaging, food preparation and export compliance, health and safety, and communication skills.’
    • ‘The media is riddled with gruesome tales of slaughter and the killing of animals ‘presumed’ infected.’
    • ‘Both pathogens can colonise the intestines of beef cattle and get into the food chain during slaughter at the abattoir.’
    • ‘Ferguson, whose models shaped government policy, said other culls should not have been adopted and only led to the unnecessary slaughter of healthy animals.’
    • ‘The price of New Ponies is as low as £5 each, making them attractive for transport and slaughter on the Continent.’
    • ‘At least 7,000 animals already face slaughter.’
    • ‘The ultimate objective of the campaign was to prevent slaughter of animals for man's food.’
    • ‘Mr. Walsh reminded producers and processors that the movement of such animals other than for slaughter and accompanied by the relevant permit is strictly prohibited.’
    • ‘Children in particular should not have to witness wholesale slaughter of animals to which they may have become very attached.’
    • ‘The animals transported from other States for slaughter should be given proper food, water and a resting place till they are killed’
    • ‘The pre-emptive slaughter of healthy animals was extended by the administrations in Whitehall and Edinburgh yesterday.’
    • ‘The European Parliament recently voted for an end to the long distance transportation of animals destined for slaughter or further fattening.’
    • ‘Pre-slaughter stunning was introduced in 1933 to protect abattoir personnel, not animals, by immobilising the animal to facilitate slaughter.’
    • ‘The mass slaughter of animals seized from wildlife markets in Guangdong province was launched despite appeals for caution by the World Health Organisation.’
    • ‘World hunger is directly related to the breeding and killing of animals for slaughter, it is pointed out.’
    • ‘This has very serious implications for us in that animals going to slaughter are not normally affected by the 20-day standstill rule.’
    • ‘The Bible records many examples of the slaughter of animals for food, products or purpose.’
    • ‘The slaughter of the healthy animals at Otterburn Hall farm followed a mix-up of addresses, resulting in the accidental cull of 80 per cent of the stock.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that it has presided over the largely unnecessary slaughter of 7.7 million animals, yet it cannot confirm foot-and-mouth has been eliminated.’
    • ‘If, on the other hand, it has spread and is affecting more than one species, a combination of vaccination and judicious slaughter of the worst-affected animals is the solution.’
    1. 1.1 The killing of a large number of people or animals in a cruel or violent way.
      ‘the slaughter of 20 peaceful demonstrators’
      • ‘You can tell that's all men fantasize about: violence and wholesale slaughter.’
      • ‘This is a racist holocaust, where people are targeted for slaughter because of their ethnicity - yet many people deny this basic truth.’
      • ‘The world has watched genocide happening in Rwanda but we were too busy worrying about our own needs to look up and call anyone to stop the slaughter.’
      • ‘As the toll of dead seals increased, charter boat skippers around Oban who make their money from nature-loving tourists, demanded immediate action to stop the slaughter.’
      • ‘Brutal conquests to be sure, his bloody wake of slaughter in the violent thirteenth century led to the murder of untold millions.’
      • ‘Internal factionalism is unlikely to reach the level of Yugoslavia after the fall of the communists, since US air power can be invoked to stop mass slaughter.’
      • ‘Perhaps you should back down, stop supporting the mass slaughter of unborn babies, and go off somewhere real quiet and decide whether you really want to be a Catholic.’
      • ‘What Rwanda teaches is that, really, any pretext for division - even violent division, and slaughter - will do.’
      • ‘This sombre celebration was introduced after the First World War, to mark and honour the day on which the guns fell silent on the Western Front and the slaughter stopped in 1918.’
      • ‘Who is in Liberia right now stopping this slaughter that befell that country after Charles Taylor's escape?’
      • ‘We therefore have a duty to play a role in stopping the imperialist slaughter and preventing the spread of the war to other Arab countries.’
      • ‘‘Mbeki, stop the senseless slaughter of our families,’ read one large poster.’
      • ‘The U.N.'s inability to stop the slaughter in Cambodia was a great failure.’
      • ‘What exactly will it take for the United States and the international community to step in and stop the wholesale slaughter of innocents?’
      • ‘He raised the issue again this past Sunday, threatening war unless the government sets up a commission to investigate the alleged ethnic slaughter in Bukavu.’
      • ‘Jewish leaders have repeatedly pressed for full disclosure to determine what Pius XII did or didn't do to stop Hitler's slaughter of millions of Jews.’
      • ‘Powell said the deal could help end the ethnic slaughter in Darfur, which the United States government has declared a genocide.’
      • ‘His programme of slaughter was only stopped in 1979 by an uprising.’
      • ‘Those possibilities, it seems, now extend to violent slaughter of the type previously monopolised by male action heroes.’
      • ‘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.’
      massacre, murder, murdering
      carnage, bloodshed, indiscriminate bloodshed, bloodletting
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    2. 1.2informal count noun A thorough defeat.
      ‘a magnificent 5–0 slaughter of Coventry’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The setbacks were so severe that the leader announced his resignation after losing several members of his frontbench in an election slaughter.’
      • ‘Like many, I tuned in expecting a slaughter and was captivated for 80 minutes by what will be regarded as one of the classic games in rugby history.’
      • ‘A right hook flush to the jaw followed by a straight left and another right hook to the trapped Cecane, prompted referee Lulama Mtya to step in and stop the one-sided slaughter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most people would have considered this almost a slaughter of Cappagh by the Larries Lassies but my source tells me that it was a tough match and that Cappagh were very determined.’
      • ‘It wasn't a slaughter by any means, just that Dublin were hitting all the right notes now whereas Kerry were staccato-like in all their efforts.’
      • ‘This is a slaughter of the two candidates who seemed to have Iowa locked up between them.’
      • ‘The constant rumblings in his party have grown loud again, and some of his candidates fear a slaughter at the polls.’
      crushing defeat, annihilation, drubbing, trouncing, rout
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Middle English (as a noun): from Old Norse slátr ‘butcher's meat’; related to slay. The verb dates from the mid 16th century.