a. Large-scale killing or maiming, as in war or an accident.
b. A number of violently killed or maimed bodies.
2. Informal Overwhelming defeat, loss, or destruction.
[French, ultimately variant (possibly of Norman dialectal French or Picard origin or influenced by Old Provençal carnatge, carnage) of Old French charnage : charn, variant of char, flesh, meat (from Latin carō, carn-; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) + -age, -age.]
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.