a. One who slaughters and dresses animals for food or market.
b. One who sells meats.
2. One that kills brutally or indiscriminately.
3. A vendor, especially one on a train or in a theater.
4. One who bungles something.
tr.v. butch·ered, butch·er·ing, butch·ers
1. To slaughter or prepare (animals) for market.
2. To kill brutally or indiscriminately.
3. To botch; bungle: butcher a project; butchered the language. See Synonyms at botch.
[Middle English bucher, from Old French bouchier, from bouc, boc, he-goat, probably of Celtic origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.