What does massacre mean?

Definitions for massacre
ˈmæs ə kərmas·sacre

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word massacre.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. slaughter, massacre, mass murder, carnage, butcheryverb

    the savage and excessive killing of many people

  2. massacre, slaughter, mow downverb

    kill a large number of people indiscriminately

    "The Hutus massacred the Tutsis in Rwanda"


  1. Massacrenoun

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


  1. massacrenoun

    The intentional killing of a considerable number of human beings, under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty, or contrary to the usages of civilized people.

  2. massacrenoun


  3. massacreverb

    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.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. MASSACREnoun

    Etymology: massacre, French, from mazzare, Italian.

    Of whom such massacre
    Make they, but of their brethren, men of men. John Milton.

    Slaughter grows murder, when it goes too far,
    And makes a massacre what was a war. John Dryden, Ind. Emp.

    The tyrannous and bloody act is done;
    The most arch deed of piteous massacre,
    That ever yet this land was guilty of. William Shakespeare, Rich. III.

  2. To Massacreverb

    To butcher; to slaughter indiscriminately.

    Etymology: massacrer, French, from the noun

    I’ll find a day to massacre them all,
    And raze their faction, and their family. William Shakespeare.

    Christian religion, now crumbled into fractions, may, like dust, be irrecoverably dissipated, if God do not countermine us, or we recover so much sobriety as to forbear to massacre what we pretend to love. Decay of Piety.

    After the miserable slaughter of the Jews, at the destruction of Jerusalem, they were scattered into all corners, oppressed and detested, and sometimes massacred and extirpated. Francis Atterbury.


  1. Massacre

    A massacre is the killing of a large number of people, especially those who are not involved in any fighting or have no way of defending themselves. A massacre is generally considered to be morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group of political actors against defenseless victims. The word is a loan of a French term for "butchery" or "carnage". A "massacre" is not necessarily a "crime against humanity". Other terms with overlapping scope include war crime, pogrom, mass killing, mass murder, and extrajudicial killing.


  1. massacre

    A massacre is an act of killing a large number of people, usually in a violent or brutal manner, often within a short period of time. It generally involves a significant imbalance of power between perpetrators and victims, and is often associated with events like wars, rebellions, or genocides.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Massacrenoun

    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

  2. Massacrenoun


  3. Massacrenoun

    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

  4. Etymology: [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. mitan.]


  1. Massacre

    A massacre is an incident where some group is killed by another, and the perpetrating party are perceived to be in total control of force while the victimized party is perceived to be helpless and/or innocent with regard to any legitimate offense. There is no clear-cut definition for when killings are referred to as massacres or not, rather, this choice is a result of an individual or collective assessment, depending e.g. on how the circumstances of the killing align with given ideas of acceptable use of force and on the desired status of an event in collective memory. The first recorded use in English of the word massacre in the name of an event is "Marlowe, The massacre at Paris". The word is ultimately derived from a Middle Low German *matskelen meaning "to slaughter". Massacre can also be used as a verb, as "To kill in numbers, esp. brutally and indiscriminately", the first usage of which was "1588 J. PENRY Viewe Publ. Wants Wales 65 Men which make no conscience for gaine sake, to break the law of the æternall, and massaker soules...are dangerous subjects". The term can also be used metaphorically for events that do not involve any deaths, such as the Saturday Night Massacre - the dismissals and resignations of political appointees during the Watergate scandal.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Massacre

    mas′a-kėr, n. indiscriminate slaughter, esp. with cruelty: carnage.—v.t. to kill with violence and cruelty: to slaughter. [Fr.; from the Teut., as in Low Ger. matsken, to cut; cf. Ger. metz-ger, a butcher.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. massacre

    The killing of human beings by indiscriminate slaughter, murder of numbers with cruelty or atrocity, or contrary to the usages of civilized people; cold-blooded destruction of life; butchery; carnage. The following are among the most remarkable:

Suggested Resources

  1. massacre

    Song lyrics by massacre -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by massacre on the Lyrics.com website.

How to pronounce massacre?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of massacre in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of massacre in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of massacre in a Sentence

  1. Avihai Stollar:

    The idea was not to massacre ... but their commanders lied to them and lied to the public that there were no civilians [killed].

  2. Wang Dan:

    It is time for us now, for the whole democratic countries now, to re-recognize the true face of the (Communist Party) and try to learn some lessons from the Tiananmen massacre, this is a very important challenge for the whole world, because now China is a rising power, and seems like a threat for the democracy and freedom of the whole world.

  3. Ndona Muboyayi:

    I’ve spent a lot of time in Central Africa because my dad is from the Congo, and some of the propaganda that’s being spread right now here in Evanston is similar to some of the divisiveness that took place in Rwanda before the massacre.

  4. Lois McMaster Bujold:

    There are always survivors at a massacre. Among the victors, if nowhere else.

  5. Robbie Abell:

    The questions he was asking were not the normal questions a normal person would be asking. If something is suspicious, it’s our discretion, we are the gatekeeper. Federal investigators say that in the week before he murdered dozens people and wounded more than 50 others at the Pulse nighclub in Orlando, Mateen visited another gun shop, where he purchased a pistol and a.223 SIG Sauer semiautomatic rifle. Authorities are still trying to determine the motives behind the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The Justice Department released the full transcript of Mateen’s 911 call on the night of the massacre Monday. In his 50-second call to police he claimed responsibility for the terror attack and pledged allegiance to Islamic State’s leader. The summary shows that Mateen told negotiators he had a vehicle outside that has some bombs. Just to let you know. You people are gon na get it, and I'm gon na ignite it if they try to do anything stupid. Mateen claimed he had an explosive vest similar to the kind used by terrorists in France, referencing the November terror attack in Paris. In the next few days, you're going to see more of this type of action going on, Mateen said. He also reportedly told hostages that he would put suicide vests on them. No explosives were ever found on Mateen inside the club or in any vehicles outside. Mateen was armed with two guns during the rampage. Despite claims by the administration and law enforcement officials that ISIS did not direct Mateen to carry out the attack, Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday used the massacre as an example of why the terror group must be defeated.

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"massacre." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/massacre>.

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    clothing that is worn or carried, but not part of your main clothing
    • A. accessory
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