A massacre is a big bloody mess of killing, and usually for no good reason. Not that there’s ever a good reason for killing, but massacres are especially pointless and gory.

It’s unclear where the word massacre came from, but possibly it was the Old French word macacre, which means “slaughterhouse.” As a noun, massacre is a brutal slaughter of humans or animals, and it can be a verb as well, like when an army massacres an entire village of innocent people. Pronounce it like MASS-uh-ker, and remember to spell it with an acre at the end, which is how much land is needed to bury the bodies after a massacre.

Definitions of massacre
  1. noun
    the savage and excessive killing of many people
    synonyms: butchery, carnage, mass murder, slaughter
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    a siege and massacre at a mission in San Antonio in 1836; Mexican forces under Santa Anna besieged and massacred American rebels who were fighting to make Texas independent of Mexico
    Battle of the Little Bighorn
    a battle in Montana near the Little Bighorn River between United States cavalry under Custer and several groups of Native Americans (1876); Custer was pursuing Sioux led by Sitting Bull; Custer underestimated the size of the Sioux forces (which were supported by Cheyenne warriors) and was killed along with all his command
    battue, bloodbath, bloodletting, bloodshed
    indiscriminate slaughter
    type of:
    execution, murder, slaying
    unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being
  2. verb
    kill a large number of people indiscriminately
    “The Hutus massacred the Tutsis in Rwanda”
    synonyms: mow down, slaughter
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly
Word Family
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