1. 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.
Synonym: 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)
Origin: 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. Maitan.