the killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food.
the brutal or violent killing of a person.
the killing of great numbers of people or animals indiscriminately; carnage: the slaughter of war.
verb (used with object)
to kill or butcher (animals), especially for food.
to kill in a brutal or violent manner.
to slay in great numbers; massacre.
Informal. to defeat thoroughly; trounce: They slaughtered our team.

1250–1300; Middle English slaghter, slahter, slauther (noun) < Old Norse slātr, earlier slāttr, slahtr

slaughterer, noun
slaughteringly, adverb
unslaughtered, adjective

2. murder. 4–6. Slaughter, butcher, massacre all imply violent and bloody methods of killing. Slaughter and butcher primarily referring to the killing of animals for food, are used also of the brutal or indiscriminate killing of human beings: to slaughter cattle; to butcher a hog. Massacre indicates a general slaughtering of helpless or unresisting victims: to massacre the peasants of a region. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
slaughter (ˈslɔːtə)
1.  the killing of animals, esp for food
2.  the savage killing of a person
3.  the indiscriminate or brutal killing of large numbers of people, as in war; massacre
4.  informal a resounding defeat
5.  to kill (animals), esp for food
6.  to kill in a brutal manner
7.  to kill indiscriminately or in large numbers
8.  informal to defeat resoundingly
[Old English sleaht; related to Old Norse slāttar hammering, slātr butchered meat, Old High German slahta, Gothic slauhts, German Schlacht battle]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "killing of a cattle or sheep for food, killing of a person," from O.N. *slahtr, akin to slatr "a butchering, butcher meat," slatra "to slaughter," and slattr "a mowing;" related to sla "to strike" (see slay), from P.Gmc. *slukhtis. Meaning "killing of a large number
of persons in battle" is attested from mid-14c. The verb is from 1530s. Slaughter-house is from late 14c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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