Definition of butcher in English:

butcher

noun

  • 1A person whose trade is cutting up and selling meat in a shop.

    • ‘Markets often have butchers or cooked meat shops that specialize in the head and trotters, that is, the non-organ meats that are not suitable for stews and kebabs.’
    • ‘Yet another regulation about to impact on the local meat sector is a prohibition of cutting meat for wholesale in butchers ' shops.’
    • ‘We decided to sell direct to the customer in a shop, which would incorporate a traditional butcher's shop with cutting room and cold store.’
    • ‘Over the past two months, our selectors have been chopping and changing the side more in the manner of a butcher in a meat shop rather than making changes with any rationale behind them.’
    • ‘Another case for their records, another freak they can ogle and prod like a piece of meat in a butcher's shop.’
    • ‘Many groceries, butchers and cheese shops can be found along St-Laurent a few blocks south of Jean-Talon, with plenty of places to stop for an espresso along the way.’
    • ‘Health authorities traced the bacterial infection E.coli 0157 to a butcher's shop selling cooked meat pies.’
    • ‘There were vendors selling fruits and vegetables, butchers selling meats, tradesmen selling expensive cloths, and so on.’
    • ‘And there was a furrier and a butcher and a shop selling fine wines.’
    • ‘Ms Milburn said the raid had come about because of a tip-off from Bradford Council that they had seized meat at a Keighley butcher's shop which had been slaughtered at the farm.’
    • ‘I understand that a television programme had set out to expose the ‘black economy’ in selling meat to butchers and restaurants that had been illegally slaughtered.’
    • ‘Fat stock are animals that are sold to butchers for meat’
    • ‘Grocery stores did not sell meat, and the butchers did not usually have a late night.’
    • ‘It's now almost seven years since the last huge blaze when flames swept through historic wooden framed High Street buildings with the butcher's shop and betting office on the ground floor.’
    • ‘I want the butcher's shops, greengrocers and bakers and so forth that have now all moved to Clifton Moor and Monks Cross.’
    • ‘A family-run butcher and fishmonger shop in Witham is celebrating 50 years of trading.’
    • ‘People and carts ran throughout the dusty dirt streets and animals being traded or sold to butchers or other farmers crowded the path.’
    • ‘From August 1, butchers and other meat traders will no longer be able to send surplus or unfit meat to be disposed of at landfill rubbish sites.’
    • ‘The recent success of farmers selling meat direct to the public is being threatened by legislation to stop butchers cutting meat for sale anywhere but in their own shops.’
    • ‘One day at the butcher shop, the butcher's son picks on them.’
    meat seller, meat merchant, meat trader
    meat seller, meat merchant, meat trader
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    1. 1.1A person who slaughters and cuts up animals for food.
      ‘a pork butcher’
      • ‘By Islamic custom, butchers must slaughter animals by cutting the throat.’
      • ‘The refinery, built in 1998, processes food waste and animal by-products collected from slaughterhouses, butchers and supermarkets.’
      • ‘It appeared to him that almost everyone was a butcher and when an animal was slaughtered, everything was used down to the last drop of blood.’
      • ‘The first offence committed by the butcher was to slaughter an animal at a place not so designated.’
      • ‘As such, only those butchers who slaughter their own animals can produce it.’
      • ‘To be certified as halal an animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim butcher who recites a prayer over the animal and then quickly slits its throat.’
      • ‘After slaughtering the animal, the butcher gave the children a close-up look at the heart, tendons and other internal organs of the cow.’
      • ‘There have been anti-government protests outside the Senate and the Agricultural Ministry, and strikes by butchers and slaughterhouses.’
      • ‘In a statement read by West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff, his son told how his father had left school at 14 and began work as a butcher and slaughterman in Leeds.’
      • ‘Residents drove the cow into the open ground between two houses, where it was secured by police and then slaughtered by a butcher from the slaughter house.’
      • ‘A son of Patrick and Gabrielle O'Rourke, he has been a butcher in the Food Experience in Sligo for the past six years.’
      • ‘No one is in a better position to reassure consumers about any doubts they may have about the origin and quality of food than a butcher.’
      • ‘The story began on Sunday night when a butcher tried to slaughter the buffalo.’
      • ‘His dad was a butcher and slaughterman who was often out of work in the depression, and times were hard.’
      • ‘He also refused to compromise on quality and that meant rejecting parts of the animals that some butchers put into their products.’
      • ‘A while later we were attacked by butchers from the nearby slaughterhouse.’
      • ‘Surely a woman in the 1950's would be likely to buy one already slaughtered from a butcher.’
      • ‘After almost 30 years of working six days a week, Otley pork butchers David and Barbara Brown are looking forward to a day off.’
      • ‘Winders had offered a service, allowing butchers to buy from individual farmers, get the animals slaughtered at Ulverston and delivered direct to them.’
      • ‘Opinions on everything from the psyche of purchasing to pork butchers are shot through the narrative.’
      meat merchant, meat trader
      meat merchant, meat trader
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    2. 1.2A person who kills people indiscriminately or brutally.
      • ‘Just as providence protects drunks and fools, so it also spares the pseuds who make excuses for the butchers who have killed their neighbours.’
      • ‘I told him they were a bunch of murdering butchers and he didn't like that.’
      • ‘Up along the bay still seagulling like a mix of Welsh and Irish, bible black and pudding with fingers in his mouth - maybe his own this time, the slavering butcher, the killer in some eyes.’
      • ‘And all it does is, you know, reinvent his image as a murderer and as a butcher, and it reminds people of what people believe he did.’
      • ‘With a galactic reputation for being butchers, and ravenous executioners, the Rangers weren't known for leaving anyone alive after an operation.’
      • ‘‘He is a butcher, he tortures people, kills them personally,’ Mr Rumsfeld said in Atlanta, Georgia.’
      • ‘It immediately made me think of serial killers and butchers.’
      • ‘He is the godfather of the settlement movement, a butcher and the master of a brutal and relentless occupation.’
      • ‘Their people will have an opportunity for democracy and freedom instead of being under the regime of this murderous butcher and his family.’
      • ‘No one can deny that Macbeth is a ruthless butcher and bloody fiend.’
      • ‘I figure that if people can wear a T-shirt that portrays a ruthless butcher that terrorized my country of birth as a hero, then I can wear a shirt proclaiming my views.’
      murderer, mass murderer, slaughterer, killer, assassin, serial killer, homicidal maniac, destroyer, terminator, liquidator
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  • 2North American informal A person selling refreshments, newspapers, etc. on a train or in a theatre.

verb

[with object]
  • 1Slaughter or cut up (an animal) for food.

    • ‘A ban on butchering downer cows - animals that stagger, can't walk, or exhibit other signs of BSE-will make no difference, either.’
    • ‘Scenes of milking, slaughtering and butchering cattle, and hunting wild cattle in swamps are also shown.’
    • ‘I recently stayed with some Bedouin tribes in Jordan, where the women did the bread-making while the men slaughtered and butchered the goat for us.’
    • ‘Researchers believe that Ebola is most commonly transmitted when people butcher infected apes for food.’
    • ‘But others were systematically butchered and prepared for food.’
    • ‘The ponies would be butchered in foreign slaughterhouses and could end up on menus in countries such as France, where the meat is a delicacy.’
    • ‘Although she observed no live cattle being butchered, she concluded that the plant's older-style equipment was ‘overloaded.’’
    • ‘One girl had watched her cousin butcher a sheep before and she thought we should get a whole animal.’
    • ‘The early humans butchered the elephant at the kill site and ate the meat raw, the archaeologists add.’
    • ‘Also, Mr Clarke can butcher a beast for his shop on a wooden block behind the counter.’
    • ‘Each year, Old Sturbridge Village butchers a pig in early December.’
    • ‘Other neighbors have found migrants butchering their newborn calves, opening water lines to drink - leaving them flowing - and stealing their trucks.’
    • ‘For example, the team recovered six larger stones known as cores, from which flint tools used for butchering the elephant were chipped.’
    • ‘Among this group were men who could do anything from butchering a cow to fixing a motor with a piece of wire or operating on a casualty with a jackknife.’
    • ‘Then he dragged out a small knife and began cleanly butchering the deer.’
    • ‘Therefore, last spring my husband spent several days butchering our winter rabbits.’
    • ‘The researchers found horse skulls and backbones in the villages, indicating that horses were butchered on site.’
    • ‘Whitewater's grandmother, who is the matriarch, decides which sheep are butchered and when.’
    • ‘Women do the daily cooking, while men butcher pigs for feasts.’
    • ‘I've even seen her helping to butcher cattle, much to the surprise of the soldiers.’
    • ‘I'm not familiar with the book, though I've read that the film version butchered the story a bit, cutting out major plot points and character development.’
    • ‘It was butchered by the studio and emerged shorn of 40 minutes in 1980.’
    slaughter, cut up, carve up, slice up, joint, prepare, dress
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    1. 1.1Kill (a person or people) indiscriminately or brutally.
      ‘they rounded up and butchered 250 people’
      • ‘They still exist in a time where an enemy is fit only to be butchered like an animal.’
      • ‘They'd be butchered, slaughtered like sheep before wave after wave of fierce counterattack.’
      • ‘They saw the soldiers butchering the inhabitants with no ‘enemy’ in sight.’
      • ‘Young men ran amok butchering strangers with swords.’
      • ‘Previous tapes did show hooded men butchering their captives.’
      • ‘This is a war that cannot be won by the military without butchering thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of their citizens.’
      • ‘Rebel and government forces butchered civilians.’
      • ‘The Glencoe massacre was an infamous episode in Scottish history when members of the MacDonald clan were butchered by government soldiers, led by a rival clan chief Robert Campbell.’
      massacre, murder, slaughter, kill, put to death, dispatch, dispose of, destroy, exterminate, liquidate, eliminate, terminate, assassinate, put to the sword, cut down, cut to pieces
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    2. 1.2Ruin (something) deliberately or through incompetence.
      ‘the film was butchered by the studio that released it’
      • ‘White doesn't say so, but it seems safe to assume that they deliberately butchered it.’
      • ‘This time Fumento gets the issue date of the article correct, but he incomprehensibly butchers the quote.’
      • ‘And why should a studio butcher its own work when those abusing it freely admit that, no, they haven't even seen the movie?’
      • ‘If you had an incompetent employee who was costing you money and butchering important relationships, wouldn't you want to know?’
      • ‘At least when he butchers a word he does it by accident.’
      • ‘A reviewer butchers an original text, taking that which seems necessary to get the text to say what must be said, and excising the rest.’
      • ‘So who butchers the French language worse, the English or Germans?’
      • ‘Certainly life is not all negative, but I read a quote from Thomas Hardy, and I know I'm butchering it, but he basically said that you can't really hope to remedy the dark side of life until you first have looked at it.’
      • ‘Oh yes, I hate this singer for butchering this song.’
      • ‘He accused the minister's office of butchering his education policy which he called a third way between publicly funded and fee paying higher education.’
      • ‘She seems to be out of her mind, butchering this beautiful song.’
      • ‘I had to spend twice as long butchering my work as I did writing it in the first place!’
      • ‘A leading academic has launched a vicious attack on the country's powerful propaganda department, claiming it has butchered freedom of speech and protects corrupt officials.’
      • ‘There was neither ease nor grace as I butchered the edges of the tin lid; deep gouges of torn aluminium and the screech of metal on metal as I twisted the tin round in a stuttered, clumsy motion.’
      • ‘Let me state that this is my interpretation; so the best ideas came from the professor, and I may have butchered them here and that will be completely my fault.’
      • ‘He challenged his opponent's mendacity (and badly butchered a response on malpractice reform).’
      • ‘I suspect it works because it's both written and directed by one person so it avoided the usual problem of a moderately good script being butchered by the director.’
      • ‘He would certainly sacrifice his own life, knowing that he had butchered thousands of Americans.’
      spoil, ruin, mar, mutilate, mangle, cut about, mess up, make a mess of, wreck
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Phrases

    have (or take) a butcher's
    British informal
    • Have a look.

      • ‘He kicks off at Kelvingrove in Glasgow where he will take a butcher's at Salvador Dali's St John Of The Cross.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Sharky's takes a butcher's at the P3 1.13GHz CPU.’
      • ‘‘I think I might just mosey on down and take a butcher's,’ the PFY says, exiting stage left.’
      • ‘We don't usually write about boozers, but being ex-pats we are always intrigued by foreign attempts at British-style pubs, so Bob and I popped into the recently established Dog & Bone down Lambton Quay to have a butcher's.’
      • ‘In the case of Peter Sarstedt, music and lyrics gave the impression that the singer intended to crack the listener over the head with a lump hammer and have a butcher's inside.’
      • ‘Anders suggests that I ‘have a butcher's’ at this page, which glosses diamond geezer as ‘A really wonderful man, helpful and reliable; a gem of a man.’’
      • ‘Have a butchers at the first team squad and read each players profile.’
      • ‘So have a butchers at that if nothing else.’

Origin

Middle English from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French bochier, from boc ‘he-goat’, probably of the same ultimate origin as buck.

Pronunciation

butcher

/ˈbʊtʃə/