AskDefine | Define butchery

Dictionary Definition



1 a building where animals are butchered [syn: abattoir, shambles, slaughterhouse]
2 the business of a butcher [syn: butchering]
3 the savage and excessive killing of many people [syn: slaughter, massacre, mass murder, carnage]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The cruel, ruthless killings of humans, as at a slaughterhouse.
    1593 The tyrannous and bloody act is done,—
    The most arch deed of piteous massacre
    That ever yet this land was guilty of.
    Dighton and Forrest, who I did suborn
    To do this piece of ruthless butchery
    — Shakespeare, Richard III, Act 4, Scene 3.
  2. An abattoir, a slaughterhouse.
    1899 On the third Friday Jimmie was dropped at the door of the school from the doctor's buggy. The other children, notably those who had already passed over the mountain of distress, looked at him with glee, seeing in him another lamb brought to butchery. — Stephen Crane, Making an Orator.
    1901 There was good grass on the selection all the year. I’d picked up a small lot—about twenty head—of half-starved steers for next to nothing, and turned them on the run; they came on wonderfully, and my brother-in-law (Mary’s sister’s husband), who was running a butchery at Gulgong, gave me a good price for them. — Henry Lawson, A Double Buggy at Lahey Creek.
  3. The butchering of meat.
    This butchery begins in the first Japanese month. For this purpose they put the animal's head between two long poles, which are squeezed together by fifty or sixty people, both men and women. When the bear is dead they eat his flesh, keep the liver as a medicine — James Frazer, The Golden Bough, Chapter 52.
  4. A disastrous effort, an atrocious failure.
    This week’s impossible-to-pronounce word: Catania. Granted, it’s a little trickier than Palermo, but there was no excusing the verbal butchery that ensued.'' —blog.
  5. The stereotypal behaviors and accouterments of being a butch lesbian.

Extensive Definition

A butcher is someone who prepares various meats and other related goods for sale. Many butchers sell their goods in specialized stores, although in the Western world today most meat is sold through supermarkets.


Butchery is a traditional work. Primary butchery consists of selecting carcasses, sides, or quarters from which primary cuts can be produced with the minimum of wastage, separate the primal cuts from the carcasses using the appropriate tools and equipment following company procedures, trim primal cuts and prepare for secondary butchery or sale, and store cut meats hygienically and safely. Secondary butchery involves boning and trimming primal cuts in preparation for sale. A butcher will also manufacture meat products for sausages, pies and stir-fries.


From a professional standpoint it is extremely dangerous not to wear a bellyguard (made of plate, chain mail, or Kevlar in some cases) and a safety glove (made of chain mail or Kevlar). The tools of the trade usually consist of a scabbard, a couple of boning knives and a meat hook. Some butcher positions require they use a food grade band saw or other types of knives.
The top consists of four main parts: 'silverside', eye of silverside 'topside', 'feather', and 'hind shin' also the knuckle and rump. These are more commonly boned out: first the 'shin' is removed, then the aitch bone followed by the 'feather', which is 'seamed out' (achieved by cutting the connective tissue between the muscles of the animal, as there is no actual bone removed during this stage), and then the 'Top bone', 'Ham bone' or 'H-Bone' is boned out, and the 'topside' and 'silverside' are separated using the seaming technique earlier described. The excess fat and cuts that are not used as whole cuts are then removed then minced and spiced to produce sausages and mince the whole cuts are usually 'hung' to age or vacuum-packed to age until the required stage is reached, this often determines the quality of a butchers shop, it is then stored or used.
Dependent on where the hindquarter was split the Rump is either left attached to the sirloin or the top. It is taken off to leave a 'Rump' of beef, this has a large flat bone on the inner side of the animal. Cornish butchers will often slap the rump with the back of a knife to break up the fat. This is known as "Slap Rump". This is then followed closely down and thus removed separating the meat from the bone.
The 'sirloin' also consists of two main parts: the 'sirloin' and 'fillet'. These are boned out from the 'striploin', which is in effect the lower back of the animal. the resulting cuts are then trimmed, and cut into steaks. They can also be served 'bone-in' for roasts and T-bone steaks.

Sausage making

Sausage making was first conceived as a use for leftovers of meat. Originally, the meat was minced, salt was added, and the resulting mixture was filled into intestines. Queen Victoria had her butcher roughly chop the meat so the sausages had more texture. Today, sausages are made with different types of meats, fat, sausage casings, packaged seasonings, fresh herbs and spices, rusks or breadcrumbs, water or ice.

Metaphorical use

In various periods and cultures, the term "butcher" was applied to people who acted cruelly to other human beings or slaughtered them. For example, Pompey - a prominent Roman general and politician of the First Century B.C. - got the Latin nickname adulescentulus carnifex, translated as "The Teenage Butcher" or "The Butcher Boy", due to brutal treament of political opponents in the early part of his career.
Chapter 25 of the Biblical Book of Kings describes various atrocities committed in Jerusalem after its conquest by the Babylonnians, under direction of a high Babylonian official named Nebuzaradan. His title is given as "Rav Tabahim" (רב טבחים) which litarally translates as "Master Butcher" or "Master Cook," but is sometimes translated (from the actual acts attributed to him) as "Chief Executioner" (see In modern Hebrew, the term is reserved for the perpetrators of particularly horrendous massacres.
The term "butcher" has also been applied to Italian football defenders like Marco Materazzi, Claudio Gentile and many others because of their rough tackles, man marking and elbow punching their opponents.
butchery in Danish: Slagter
butchery in German: Fleischer
butchery in Esperanto: Buĉisto
butchery in French: Boucher (métier)
butchery in Korean: 정육점
butchery in Italian: Macellaio
butchery in Dutch: Slager
butchery in Portuguese: Açougue
butchery in Simple English: Butcher
butchery in Neapolitan: Chianchiere
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