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Old March 17, 2010, 06:54 AM
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Slaughter and slay

Are these verbs synonyms? I meant, both of them mean "kill with violence", more or less.

Perdón, estoy muy pesada hoy...
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Old March 17, 2010, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
Are these verbs synonyms? I meant, both of them mean "kill with violence", more or less.

Perdón, estoy muy pesada hoy...
My guess is that they are more or less synonyms (they are etymologically related), but I have very rarely heard 'slay' in BrE. In fact, the only time I've seen it is in American newspapers.

Slaughter can mean to kill violently (cf. German Schlacht - a battle) but can also mean to kill an animal for food (so possibly humanely. This is usually done in a slaughterhouse) (cf. German Schlachtplatter - a disgusting dish of meats from a newly slaughtered animal)
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Old March 17, 2010, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
Are these verbs synonyms? I meant, both of them mean "kill with violence", more or less.

Perdón, estoy muy pesada hoy...
No estás pesada hoy. Esa pregunta me hace pensar porque los significados son semejantes.
Cattle are slaughtered (not slain) at slaughterhouses.
Reses estan matados en mataderos.

When a person is slaughtered, they are brutally murdered like an animal
-----------------------------------------------------------------

To slay is more dignified. St George slew the dragon.
Sometimes a soldier may have to slay the enemy, but when a soldier
slaughters his enemy there is less dignity involved and perhaps wrong-doing.
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Old March 17, 2010, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
My guess is that they are more or less synonyms (they are etymologically related), but I have very rarely heard 'slay' in BrE. In fact, the only time I've seen it is in American newspapers.

Slaughter can mean to kill violently (cf. German Schlacht - a battle) but can also mean to kill an animal for food (so possibly humanely. This is usually done in a slaughterhouse) (cf. German Schlachtplatter - a disgusting dish of meats from a newly slaughtered animal)
Slay, from Sons & Lovers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by poli View Post
No estás pesada hoy. Esa pregunta me hace pensar porque los significados son semejantes.
Cattle are slaughtered (not slain) at slaughterhouses.
Reses estan matados en mataderos.

When a person is slaughtered, they are brutally murdered like an animal
-----------------------------------------------------------------

To slay is more dignified. St George slew the dragon.
Sometimes a soldier may have to slay the enemy, but when a soldier
slaughters his enemy there is less dignity involved and perhaps wrong-doing.
Here we say "sacrificar a un animal", which doesn't have this connotation of something brutal.

Thanks for clarifying the differences.
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Old March 17, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Sorry to introduce noise here, but if "to slaughter" is to kill with violence, why does it have a smaller punishment than murder?
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Old March 17, 2010, 09:57 AM
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Sorry to introduce noise here, but if "to slaughter" is to kill with violence, why does it have a smaller punishment than murder?
You may be confusing slaughter with manslaughter which is non-premeditated murder.

Slaughter is what's done to animals. When a human is slaughtered the context is awful.
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Old March 17, 2010, 01:21 PM
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Hah! "Manslaughter" makes all the difference. Thank you, poli!
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Old March 17, 2010, 02:45 PM
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How strange - I said I hardly ever encounter the word 'slay' and I've just done it again today. The text is however one written in the year 1610.
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Old March 17, 2010, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
...I have very rarely heard 'slay' in BrE.
The past tense "slew" is probably more common, albeit only in quotes from the AV*.


* Authorised Version, an old translation of the Bible.
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Old March 17, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Slightly more recently:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whoever_Slew_Auntie_Roo%3F

There's more. In fact I have a whole slew of examples
zombies, monsters, cops etc
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Last edited by poli; March 17, 2010 at 03:29 PM.
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