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 naxtaQai, to fight, na.xa.Lpa, sword, and Lat. mactare, to sacrifice. Another derivation connects with the Old Low Ger. matsken, to cut in pieces; cf. mod. Ger. melzeln, to massacre.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)