1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Massacre

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MASSACRE, a wholesale indiscriminate killing of persons, and also, in a transferred sense, of animals. The word is adopted from the French; but its origin is obscure. The meaning and the old form macecle seem to point to it being a corruption of the Lat. macellum, butcher’s shop or shambles, hence meat market; this is probably from the root mac-, seen in μάχεσθαι, to fight, μάχαιρα, sword, and Lat. mactare, to sacrifice. Another derivation connects with the Old Low Ger. matsken, to cut in pieces; cf. mod. Ger. metzeln, to massacre.