Definition of bloodletting in US English:



  • 1The surgical removal of some of a patient's blood for therapeutic purposes.

    • ‘Today, many medical practices such as bloodletting are no longer used.’
    • ‘But the range of surgical expertise dealt largely with the surface of the body: for example cautery, bloodletting, and draining boils and abscesses.’
    • ‘There are medieval scenes of bloodletting, and of doctors cauterising patients' piles, polyps, and even cataracts (ouch).’
    • ‘There has been a health care crisis since we were bloodletting.’
    • ‘Then, your doctor might have recommended such treatments as bloodletting or taking dangerous doses of sulfur and mercury.’
    1. 1.1 The violent killing and wounding of people during a war or conflict.
      ‘gang members have halted their internecine bloodletting’
      • ‘Someone must stop it, someone has to, or it shall all end in a violent storm of bloodletting.’
      • ‘Tragic as all this violence and bloodletting is, even I am starting to have trouble distinguishing these reports from one another, day after day.’
      • ‘And the surreal and brutal slaughter, violence and bloodletting equals the Crusades.’
      • ‘Both societies have a mixed history that included periods of peaceful, cooperative politics and periods of violence and bloodletting.’
      • ‘Going by the rage and anger that the assassination has sparked, the world should brace itself for more violence and bloodletting.’
      slaughter, slaying, killing, carnage, butchery, massacre, murder, bloodbath, gore, pogrom, genocide
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    2. 1.2 Bitter division and quarreling within an organization.
      • ‘But, unplanned, they can also trigger a bout of internal party bloodletting.’
      • ‘But industry watchers believe the bloodletting isn't over.’
      • ‘The bloodletting at the organisation, which employs 6,000 people across the country, follows a report which was highly critical of the corporation.’
      • ‘They will be hoping to choose a candidate early in the primary season, and with limited bloodletting.’
      • ‘Sure, they showed division, open animosities and public bloodletting.’