"great destruction by bloody violence, massacre," c. 1600, from Middle French carnage (16c.), from Old Italian carnaggio "slaughter, murder," from Medieval Latin carnaticum "flesh," from Latin carnaticum "slaughter of animals," from carnem (nominative caro) "flesh," originally "a piece of flesh," from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut." In English it has been always used more often of slaughters of men than of beasts. Southey (1795) tried to make a verb of it.
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