Mas"sa*cre (?), n. [F., fr. LL. mazacrium; cf. Prov. G. metzgern, metzgen, to kill cattle, G. metzger a butcher, and LG. matsken to cut, hew, OHG. meizan to cut, Goth. m�xa0;itan.]


The killing of a considerable number of human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty, or contrary to the usages of civilized people; as, the massacre on St. Bartholomew's Day.

<-- St. Valentine's Day massacre; Amritsar massacre; the Wounded Knee massacre. -->





Syn. -- Massacre, Butchery, Carnage. Massacre denotes the promiscuous slaughter of many who can not make resistance, or much resistance. Butchery refers to cold-blooded cruelty in the killing of men as if they were brute beasts. Carnage points to slaughter as producing the heaped-up bodies of the slain.

I'll find a day to massacre them all, And raze their faction and their family. Shak.

If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds, Brhold this pattern of thy butcheries. Shak.

Such a scent I draw Of carnage, prey innumerable ! Milton.


© Webster 1913.

Mas"sa*cre, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Massacred (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Massacring (?).] [Cf. F. massacrer. See Massacre, n.]

To kill in considerable numbers where much resistance can not be made; to kill with indiscriminate violence, without necessity, and contrary to the usages of nations; to butcher; to slaughter; -- limited to the killing of human beings.

If James should be pleased to massacre them all, as Maximian had massacred the Theban legion. Macaulay.


© Webster 1913.