Pondering words

I offer you two words, slaughter and butcher. Two words where virtually every meaning is bad, except (presumably) the killing of animals for food. And in response to that, I offer you Melanie Joy. If you haven’t seen her TED talk, enjoy.

slaugh·ter | ˈslôdər |

verb [with object]

  • kill (animals) for food.
  • kill (people or animals) in a cruel or violent way, typically in large numbers: innocent civilians are being slaughtered.
  • informal defeat (an opponent) thoroughly: our team was slaughtered in the finals.


  • the killing of animals for food: thousands of calves were exported to the continent for slaughter.
  • the killing of a large number of people or animals in a cruel or violent way; massacre: the slaughter of 20 peaceful demonstrators.
  • informal a thorough defeat: an absolute slaughter by the Red Sox.


butch·er | ˈbo͝oCHər |


  • a person whose trade is cutting up and selling meat in a shop.
  • a person who slaughters and cuts up animals for food: a porkbutcher.
  • a person who kills or has people killed indiscriminately or brutally: acallous butcher of men.
  • North American informal a person selling refreshments, newspapers, and other items on a train or in a stadium or theater.

verb [with object

  • slaughter or cut up (an animal) for food: the meat will be butchered for the local market.
  • kill (someone) brutally: they butchered 250 people.
  • ruin (something) deliberately or through incompetence: the film was butchered by the studio that released it.

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