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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, μάχσθαιρα, 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.