Want to make sure everyone knows exactly how bad your Badass is? Or how crazy your Ax-Crazy gets? Add "The Butcher" onto his name. Butchers hack up meat all day and are always surrounded by blood and gore, so they must be violent, scary people, right? You'll certainly never see "The Baker" or "The Candlestick Maker" used this way, we guarantee.
Although the nickname can sound impressive, it's almost never intended to be a compliment in real life. The title is most often slapped on serial killers and military leaders who are accused of war-time atrocities. "To butcher" something can also mean to do a hack job of it, so the title can sometimes be a Stealth Insult. Due to the many negative connotations of the word, it's no surprise that many butchers prefer to go by "meat cutter."
The stigma against butchery is largely unfair to professional meat cutters, who usually don't slaughter anything to begin. Their job tends to consider of chopping large hunks of meat (sometimes directly from animal carcasses) into smaller cuts of meat, with an emphasis on precise knife strokes and good presentation.
Sub-Trope of The Magnificent, and of Names to Run Away From Really Fast. Compare Red Baron.
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Fictional examples used straight
Anime and Manga
Fullmetal Alchemist has a serial killer named Barry whose actual job is that of a butcher. When introducing himself to Al at one point, he notes one of his nicknames was "Barry the Butcher", but adds that he much preferred the name he usually goes by: Barry the Chopper.
Daryl the Mincer, a minor side character in Jackals. Not exactly right, but the spirit is there - and he gets bonus points for using a butcher knife.
In the manga Mercenary Pierre, Pierre is known as "The Butcher" for having murdered the commander he worked under; While most know him only as the illegitimate son of the famed Armand de la Flute, he's notorious throughout the mercenary world for having committed such a grave act.
The main character of Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin Himura, is also known as the Hitokiri Battousai, or "the Manslayer." Being The Atoner of a violent past as an assassin, Kenshin both subverts this as a peaceful man who adheres to Thou Shalt Not Kill (going so far as to use a reverse-bladed sword to knock opponents out), and plays it straight when an enemy pushes him far enough that his murderous golden-eyed "Battousai" side kicks in.
The Rage Entity of The DCU is also named Butcher. As if being the giant bull-like embodiment of Unstoppable Rage wasn't obvious enough.
Billy Butcher, who almost everyone just calls "Butcher", of The Boys. He's a violent, scheming, manipulative bastard, and he's one of the good guys... for a very limited defintion of "good".
Subverted in Hack/Slash. Vlad is a hideously deformed hulk of a man who was raised in a basement by The Butcher...who was an actual butcher, and a very kind man who did his best to help Vlad overcome his deformities and pass on his trade.
After the butcher died, Vlad was forced go out at night and hunt rats with his huge knife so he could eat. Those who saw him called him "the Meat Man" and blamed him for a string of grisly murders.
DKA features Mukrezar, Ami's foil; who was likely called this before the terror associated with his name reached critical levels. Afterwards, where most Keepers are adressed with their full titles (like 'Keeper Morrigan' and 'Keeper Alphel') Mukrezar is simply Mukrezar.
Tyrin Lieph, the Villain Protagonist of the Mass Effect fanfic The Council Era, has received a reputation as The Butcher from his detractors due to the mass-murdering of the dezban race and the mass-suicides of the manaban race that he directly caused.
In Dauntless Lelouch has the unfortunate nickname "Butcher of Area Eighteen" after unknowingly killing several hundred civilians hiding in a military fortress. Schneizel kept the name out of the Britannian media to maintain his image as a war hero.
Lelouch ultimately exploits this reputation to lure out Kenshiki by staging the faked execution of their families.
Boris the Butcher from the film The Man Who Knew Too Little is something of a parody. He's certainly a brutal and ruthless Professional Killer (we're told that he once decapitated a man). He's also a literal butcher as his day job, and much prefers running his little butcher's shop with his wife to moonlighting as a hitman.
In the film version of Wanted, the Butcher is a brutal knife fighter.
In Wild Wild West (1999), General "Bloodbath" McGrath is also known as "The Butcher of New Liberty", for the annihilation of a free slave town that he didn't actually commit.
Bill "The Butcher" Cutting, the Magnificent Bastard extraordinaire from Gangs of New York. Bill runs his gang from his butcher shop and uses his skill with knives to his advantage in gang rumbles. He even tutors the art of knife-fighting using a suspended pig carcass.
In Hitch, the ancestor of a main character is called "The Butcher" for the usual reason. Hitch thought he was just an ordinary butcher and is distressed when the descendant bursts into tears at the mention of his name.
Played with in conversation and ultimately defied in the film Tigerland.
Miter: "You know what I am Bozz? I'm a butcher."
Bozz: "Yeah, we all butchers, Miter."
Miter: "No, I'm a real butcher."
Bozz: "Shit, you haven't killed anyone yet."
Miter: "God damn it, Bozz, I mean a real butcher. Back home I cut meat."
The Running Man's Ben Richards is known as "the Butcher of Bakersfield" after the incident where, as a military helicopter pilot, he allegedly fired on a crowd of innocent people for no real reason. The fact of the matter is that he was resisting the direct order to do so but was framed by the government because they couldn't use him after that outburst.
Karl "The Butcher" Berger and his son from the Violent Shit series.
The 1969 Claude Chabrol movie Le Boucher (The Butcher) is exactly this trope. The life of a spinster schoolmistress in a small French village is turned upside down by the arrival of an ex-soldier who is taking over the village butcher's shop. A Vietnam vet, he has little quirks. One of which is murder...
The Butcher Boy was one of the people-eating giants in Roald Dahl's The BFG.
The guerilla 'El Matarife' from the novel Sharpe's Honour - 'The Butcher' (well, The Slaughterman) only in Spanish.
Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher, gained the nickname "The Butcher of Blaviken" after his confrontation with a really twisted Snow White-expy. Whose own nickname was Shrike, appropiately enough.
A Song of Ice and Fire introduced King Cleon, who styles himself "the Great" but who most refer to as The Butcher King. He did use to be an actual butcher, but lives up to the traditional implications as well. Also, Gregor Clegane's in-house torturer is known simply as The Tickler.
In Wild Cards, superpowered secret serviceman Billy Ray goes by 'Carnifex', although he's more of a violent Jerkass than anything else.
In the back story the Pierre Le Sanguinerre was warleader for Dorca the Just and served him whenever Dorca wanted an unrulely Vor to be given...justice. His name is French for "bloody pete".
Dirk Provin, the protagonist of Jennifer Fallon's Second Sons trilogy acquired the nickname 'The Butcher of Elcast'. This was the result of being given credit for the Lion of Senet's scheme to pressurize an enemy by executing people at random until the man gave in, and was a case of twisting Dirk's words. The reputation sticks with him and he had at times to take advantage of it, as well as crafting a ruthless persona. He was barely 16 when he acquired the name.
Discworld's Sam Vimes is called this by Boragravian propaganda in Monstrous Regiment. He seems amused by the ham-handedness of it more than anything.
In Tanith Lee's "Elle Est Trois (La Mort)", one of the three aspects of Death, personified as a woman, is La Tueuse (The Butcher).
In Melanie Rawn's The Exiles Series, Auvry Feiran is referred to as "The Butcher of Ambrai" because he led a major military attack on the city that utterly destroyed it. Oh, and it was the home of his ex-wife, their young daughter, and her entire extended family.
In Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie, Monza's epithet is "The Butcher of Caprile", thanks to the bloody sack of that city by her army. It's actually another undeserved case; she gave explicit orders not to do so, but while reporting to her boss her brother countermanded them.
In "Leviathan Wakes", UN Marine Colonel Fred Johnson is known as "The Butcher of Anderson Station" for slaughtering the rebels in the aforementioned station. The remorse that he feels for doing this leads him to eventually resign his position with the UN military and join the rebels.
Abdul the Butcher, the antagonist in the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Seas of Blood.
In the Star Trek Novel Verse, the infamous Trill murderer "the Butcher of Balin" has been mentioned. In Star Trek: Mirror Universe, meanwhile, the Tellarite Gral (in the Prime Universe a diplomat) is known to the Terran Empire as "The Butcher of Berengaria".
Backyard abortionist 'Butcher George' in the Phryne Fisher novel Cocaine Blues.
In Star Wars there is Kardue'sai'Malloc (aka Labria), the Devaronian in the Mos Eisley cantina, who was called the Butcher of Montellian Serat. During the height of the Empire's reign and before the events of A New Hope, Malloc was part of the Devaronian Army and under the command of the Empire. He was ordered to put down a rebellion in the city of Montellian Serat and accomplished this by shelling it until the rebels surrendered. Immediately afterwards, he received orders to take all of his troops and move to intercept more rebels. Unable to process the prisoners, and directly ordered to not leave guards behind, he resorted to what seemed to be his only option—he had his men kill every last one of the seven hundred people. Not long after, he resigned from the military and went into hiding, his war crime earning him the name and a five million credit bounty.
Colonel Kassad from the Hyperion Cantos is known as "The Butcher of South Bressia." In this case, it's something of a backhanded compliment: the same brutally efficient tactics that got him the epithet also made him the only person to make any headway in the war.
Galerion DeSandra, AKA the Butcher of Demarchen, an antagonist in the medieval fantasy The Granite Shield who specializes in massacring innocents.
In Leo Kessler's potboiler novels about the Waffen-SS, the sergeant-major is called Metzger. This is possibly intended as a joke, as this is a Yiddish word meaning "kosher butcher." But the RSM lives up to his name because of his attitude to recruits and private soldiers.
3rd Rock from the Sun: Parodied, when Sally dates a man named Sammy the Butcher. The whole family becomes convinced that he is a killer in the mafia, and Sally even starts acting like a Mafia Princess until they discover at the end of the episode that he's an actual butcher who works in a butcher shop.
24: In season 7, The Dragon is Colonel Dubaku, "Butcher of Sangala".
The title character of the episode "Deathwalker," Jha'dur, is named such for the war crimes that she carried out during the Dilgar War, and was responsible for cruel experiments on Na'Toth's grandfather and other people, which led to Na'Toth swearing vengeance upon her.
Sheridan's nickname among Minbari is "Starkiller", for his taking out their flagship Black Star during the Earth/Minbari War. This was the Earth Alliance's only major victory in a largely one-sided war, making the use of the moniker a sign of hypocritical sour grapes. The nickname is derogatory on the Minbari side because Sheridan destroyed the Drala Fi ("black star" in Minbari Warrior language) in an act of subterfuge and not in open combat, basically calling him a war criminal.
Blake's 7: Bayban the Butcher in the episode "City at the Edge of the World".
Criminal Minds: Season 6 has the episode "Remembrance of Things Past", where an UnSub dubbed "The Butcher" (he stabs his victims, then sodomizes them, then electrocutes them, possibly not in that order) is one of Rossi's unsolved cases. He stops killing for twenty years because Rossi was too close to catching him, then develops Alzheimer's, and resurfaces trying to recreate his previous kills that he cannot remember.
Dexter: Dexter Morgan was dubbed "The Bay Harbor Butcher" after a couple of treasure divers stumbled across his dumping ground. Eventually, the name ends up attached to Sergeant Doakes, who does not actually have anything to do with Dexter's murders but is conveniently dead by the end of the season.
Doctor Who: In the episode "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", the villain is Magnus Greel, "The Butcher of Brisbane". And anyone who actually lives in Brisbane will find the concept of it being home to anything so exciting as a war criminal hilarious.
El Internado: Has Ritter Wulf, who was nicknamed "The Butcher of Belzec" because he was a sort of Mengele in said concentration field.
The League of GentlemenHilary Briss, Demon Butcher of Royston Vasey, on . He sells some mysterious and highly addictive form of meat to his "special customers". We never learn exactly what it is, but it is implicitly both highly illegal and hideously immoral. The show's creators have Jossed speculation that it was human flesh, claiming cannibalism was far too "mundane". It's something even worse....
Leverage: It's lampshaded: "Have you ever been to Kiev? The cake maker of Kiev could whup all our asses, and this is the Butcher." The nickname also turns out to be quite appropriate, as the The Butcher's weapon of choice is, in fact, a butcher knife. In "The Wedding Job", the following exchange occurs during a con operation at a wedding where one of the con artists, Elliot, is acting the part of the chef:
Parker: The butcher is here!
Elliot: Does he have the baby lamb chops?
Hardison: No, the Butcher of Kiev.
Maverick: Bret Maverick was once stalked by a gunman calling himself "Terrible Fred" and "The Butcher". He turned out to be a wannabe gunfighter who had in fact been a butcher.
Monk: In one episode, the victim turns out to be a war criminal known as the Butcher of Zemenia.
Revolution: In one episode 17 flashback, Miles Matheson is referred to as the "Butcher of Baltimore".
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the episode "Duet," a Cardassian who visited the station for medical treatment was suspected of being the war criminal Gul Darheel, known as "the Butcher of Gallitep." It turns out he's actually an idealistic file clerk who had himself surgically altered because he wants to shame Cardassia into admitting their crimes on Bajor.
From the Iron Kingdoms RPG and Warmachine tabletop strategy game's shared 'verse comes Orsus Zoktavir, the Butcher of Khardov. Complete and utter patriotic nutcase, who got his name when he ordered his men to attack secessionists in a village near the fortress of Boarsgate. The soldiers weren't all too keen to attack unarmed civilians, so he killed them and the locals by himself. With an axe he calls Lola.
Matsu Gohei is given the nickname of "The Butcher" during the Clan Wars in Legend of the Burning Sands (a spinoff of Legend of the Five Rings) due to his tendency to leave a trail of bodies wherever he goes and his utter devastation of a number of Crane holdings, among them Violence Behind Courtliness City..
In Warhammer 40,000 the Carnifex (Latin for "butcher") is a tank-sized Tyranid creature, a biological killing machine that looks like a cross between a dinosaur and a beeetle, armed with razor-sharp teeth and huge scything talons and protected by a meter-thick carapace. Somewhat subverted, however, in that you're as likely to see a Carnifex hanging in the back blasting enemies with its spasming, quivering gun-organs as you are to see one charging madly into combat, screaming and bellowing and tossing foes aside or [[The Juggernaut crushing them under its
In older editions of the background, it was applied to items of wargear used by the Apothecaries of the SpaceMarines: in the earliest fluff, it was a pistol they were issued for performing Mercy Kills, while in slightly later fluff, it referred to their gauntlet-mounted set of drills, (chainsaw) scalpels, probes and syringes, which was used for performing battlefield surgery... and last rites by removing certain parts of the dying Marine's anatomy known as progenoid glands (that particular piece of kit is still there, but it's now called a Reductor).
The Dungeons & Dragons Campaign "Anarchy's Edge", by Pathfinder, has the criminal gang known as the "Cow Hammer Boys", pretty close in meaning, and in work. They're a group of mercenaries acting under the front of giving free meat to the people of the city, at the butchery "All the World's Meat". The free meat mostly comes from the victims of the mercenary work.
Mutants & Masterminds has Butcher Boy, teen sidekick to villainous playboy crime boss Murder Man. He wields dual cleavers and is fond of taking limbs from his opponents.
Warhammer has Ogre Butchers, who use actual butchery to fuel their magic. They also look the part, with a bloodstained apron and an assortment of cleavers and tenderizers.
William Shakespeare's 2 Henry VI features a minor character called Dick the Butcher who takes part in an uprising in London. Although he's another actual butcher, he is comfortable with butchering people as well (he's the character who says the famous "kill all the lawyers" line), and, more to the point, his name foreshadows the coming of Richard III, who makes his first appearance at the end of the play (and is often called a butcher by other characters).
"The Butcher" in the first Diablo game is a demon with a huge cleaver who's taken up residence in the church and slaughtered many of the townsfolk. He's easily the hardest monster you'll face for several floors.
He also makes a cameo appearance in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne as a Bonus Boss during the Alliance campaign.
There's a boss in World of Warcraft called The Butcher, a cleaver and meathook wielding Abomination who even says "Aah, fresh meat!" when pulled. This was a deliberate shout out to the guy above.
And now he's back in Diablo III, as the boss of Act I. He's got new abilities too, such as a meat hook to grab you, a charge move, and others. The floor in his arena periodically catches fire...
Pudge the Butcher from Dota and Dota 2. You really won't like it when he goes missing
In Silent Hill Origins, there is a humanoid monster called "The Butcher" that serves as a major antagonist. It drags around a large knife and wears a blood-stained smock.
Which is an expy of the series' original butcher, Pyramid Head.
In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the main character Tommy Vercetti is known as "The Harwood Butcher" because of a hit that went down badly.
In Fallout 2 the player can choose from a variety of nicknames before entering the boxing ring. Among those are names like "Butcher", "Chainsaw", etc.
Fallout 2 also has the leader of the Slaver Guild, a man named "Metzger". Metzger is German for "butcher", and in a Shout-Out to Diablo, the first thing he says is "Ah, fresh meat!"
In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar'sDragon is his General, Legate Lanius. Lanius means "Butcher" in Latin. If you look inside his command tent, you'll see that Lanius takes his title very literally.
Pops up briefly in Lost Odyssey, where one of the Dreams of a Thousand Years concerns a long-dead general who was known simply as 'The Butcher', due to his habit of slaughtering EVERYONE who got in his way - destroying entire villages, leaving no survivors, so as to ensure that there wouldn't be any surviving brothers or sons who would later seek him out for vengeance. Believing in this philosophy, he actually takes pride in his nickname.
Villainous Coalition ace star pilot Ivan Petrov from the space fighter combat game Starlancer is nicknamed "The Butcher" for his participation in several war crimes.
Star Wars: The Old Republic. Grand Moff Kilran was dubbed "The Butcher of Coruscant" by citizens of The Republic for his brutal assault on Coruscant. Kilran has adopted it with an ironic tone, but considered his actions necessary to bring a swift conclusion to the invasion.
Commander Shepard of Mass Effect with the Ruthless background is known to some as the "Butcher of Torfan." In retaliation for the Skyllian Blitz, a batarian-backed proxy war waged across most of Alliance space, Shepard leads an all-out assault on the fortified batarian base on the moon of Torfan. Under Shepard's command, Alliance forces systematically kill every living thing (including those who surrendered) in the base, incurring heavy losses themselves. The sheer brutality of the raid prompts batarian forces to retreat from Alliance space entirely, setting Shepard up for his/her Spectre candidacy due to his/her reputation as willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Similar to Warhammer 40,000 above, Mass Effect 2 uses the name Carnifex, which is Latin for "butcher". It is the name for a brand of pistol, however. Clearly, its designers were savvy to this trope.
"Don't you wish Carnifex was at your side?"
Doctor Theolen Krastinov from World of Warcraft. A boss in Scholomance, he does things to people that are really not nice.
In The Darkness, a game based on the comic series of the same name, the mob cleaner that everyone uses is named Butcher Joyce, not because he's a violent, bloodthirsty psychopath (quite the opposite, actually, he's one of the nicest guys in the game), but because he hacks up bodies and makes them disappear.
Shank has a boss named "the Butcher", who is fought inside a meat-packing plant and uses a grappling hook for a weapon.
Dark Souls has two Elite Mooks similar to the Diablo example above. They are apparently actual butchers; the first is seen chopping meat when you first encounter him. The same game also has a noatble enemy NPC called Maneater Mildred, who wears the creepy sack that the aforementioned Butchers hide their faces with and uses their oversized meat cleaver.
In Dominic Deegan the former deceased Lord Damaske (Siegfried's father) was given this title by the Orcs for his Fantastic Racism inspired war crimes.
In the midst of all the grieving after the War In Hell arc, some main character orcs can't resist doing a Happy Dance of Mood Whiplash when they hear that at least Damaske the Butcher went down. They can't bring themselves to be sympathetic about his son, Dominic's friend, dying as well, and they don't even know about what he did. Points to Dominic for managing to be friends with one of the last of the Alheera and a Damaske at the same time, even if it was apparently only possible due to political cluelessness.
While not as blatantly obvious, Mordecai of Lackadaisy Cats has used the alias "Elijah Metzger," which the creator mentioned is "perhaps altogether too appropriate for him." "Metzger" is a German word meaning "butcher." We're first introduce to Mordecai (in canon) wielding a bloody hatchet and an irritated expression. It fits.
A Chuck Jones Looney Tunes had a mouse get back at Claude Cat by sending him a note, allegedly from the household dog, inviting him over to be friends. Claude cheerfully pays a friendly visit to the doghouse...with the name "Butcher" over the door...
Fictional examples used ironically
In the Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment, Sam Vimes is referred to by the Borogravians as "The Butcher" or "Butcher Vimes". Anyone remotely familiar with the character of Sam Vimes will find this insanely funny (which is the point.) When Vimes meets up with the protagonist and her fellow soldiers, he tells them Borogravia "needs to work on their propaganda techniques".
Also, while he is never directly called "the Butcher" there, in The Fifth Elephant Vimes is thought to have killed "thirty men and a dog" during a battle with bandits and has the damnedest time explaining how it really went.
In a sense, Vimes's reputation is not undeserved. As we see in Thud!, Sam Vimes is quite capable of slaughtering his way through a group of armed soldiers equipped with axes and Steampunk-style flamethrowers. He was possessed by a quasidemonic entity of pure vengeance at the time. But given that he managed to expel said entity by sheer inner force after the fight, that may not count. Vimes probably deserves the title, at least from the point of view of his enemies, by virtue of extraordinary Badassery.
In another Discworld novel, The Last Hero, Card-Carrying Villain Evil Harry has a henchman simply named "Butcher" (Cohen The Barbarian himself approves). Harry's "Butcher" is an archetypical dungeon keeper — meaning he's fat, lazy, gullible, and keeps his dungeon keys where the heroes can easily reach them]].
Doesn't actually using a giant butcher's cleaver as a melee weapon in Guards! Guards! count for anything? The occasion is used to point out the sheer practicality of picking a weapon designed purely for chopping flesh.
In Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar books, Aral Vorkosigan earns the name "The Butcher of Komarr" for supposedly having ordered the massacre of two hundred strong Komarran Senate after they surrendered on terms during the Conquest of Komarr. In fact, he had nothing to do with it and it was the sort of military behavior he abhorred. However, he was in charge at the time, so he got blamed despite killing the officer who gave the order on the spot with his bare hands — plus his political enemies kept saying there had been "secret orders", a rumor he found it impossible to disprove.
Nevil Clavain in Redemption Ark (2002) was dubbed "the Butcher of Tharsis" for "authorising the use of red-mercury, nuclear and foam-phase weapons" in a battle there about 400 years before the main plot. In reality he saved lives by bringing the war to an end, but he still regrets what he had to do: "I've killed innocents for military ends. I've made orphans. If that's honour, you can keep it.".
Admiral Kutuzov of The Mote in God's Eye was called "The Butcher" at least once, just those two words with capitals. His reputation stemmed from sterilizing a rebelling human colony planet (meaning to prevent a greater war).
Abdullah the Butcher was one of the first Garbage Wrestlers in Professional Wrestling; he's managed to make a very long career out of it, having had his first match in 1958 and continuing to wrestle to the present day in Puerto Rico and Japan. He's best known for slashing his opponents open with a large fork, and for the network of deep scars across his forehead.
Dungeons & Dragons module The Tomb of Haggemoth features Lord Frohman, The Butcher of Skago, who turns out to be, in fact, a wealthy merchant well known for the quality of his meats.
One of Dead Rising's bosses, Larry, is an actual butcher who worked for the mall's grocery store before all hell broke loose and he, like a good amount of the other survivors of the zombie outbreak, went criminally insane. He isn't outright homicidal as his title would suggest and is disturbingly cheerful and friendly when he views Frank as a "customer", but he's gone obsessed with his job and is encountered after he's caught hunting for new "meat" wherever he can get it and finding it in the form of the injured Big Bad. Since zombie meat comes rotten, he's eager to serve humans to humans.
One of the Cie'th missions of Final Fantasy XIII has you going after "Zenobia The Butcher". When you get to the location, the large, particularily abominable Cie'th pops out and begins advancing at your party... Only to be taken out by a Tonberry, the real Butcher.
In Psychonauts, the next-to-last boss, a mental projection of Coach Oleander's father, actually is a butcher. He appears monstrous and disfigured, wielding two massive cleavers, so perhaps the title is appropriate in more ways than one.
An an episode of The Fairly OddParents where Wanda temporarily took control of her father's ambiguously legal garbage disposal company, Cosmo was afraid that her life was in danger from a mysterious butcher fairy. As it turned out, he was a real butcher who some employees had hired to make her a nice meal for her birthday.
One of the villains in WordGirl is called simply "The Butcher". He's an actual butcher whose superpower is control over meat.
Video Game "accomplishments"
In Mass Effect, if you choose the 'Ruthless' reputation-trait, you can - later in the game - run into your old commanding officer, who recognizes you as "The Butcher of Torfan", where you apparently sent your own men to their deaths, and killed slavers as they dropped their weapons in surrender - all in the name of ensuring the complete obliteration of the place.
The Evil Genius game had a recruitable henchman called The Butcher. He was a Hannibal-type mad surgeon who turned to evil after accidentally transplanting a cursed pancreas into himself.
In Neverwinter Nights 2, you get the "Butcher of Ember" feat after being framed for massacring a village.
If you have one of your generals in the Total War series slaughter the populace of a recently conquered city enough times, then he can end up with this epithet.
Or, if they torture enough prisoners, "the Mauler". Yeesh.
Butcher is a rank the player will receive in Hitman: Silent Assassin if they kill several people during the mission. It's actually a mark of shame, way below Silent Assassin (killed only the target) and just a bit above Mass Murderer (killed "everyone").
In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 when you finish a mission you get a description of the results of it which are better and more Badass if you finish under par time. If you finish the Soviet mission in France to turn the Eiffel Tower into a giant Tesla Coil electrocuting men and destroying buildings around it under par time, it states that they fear your command more than Soviet Tanks and that you are known as The Butcher.
If you want to take the "evil path" through Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura, you have to prove your dedication to the villains' cause by utterly slaughtering the town of Stillwater. Doing this will award you a new karma title, "The Butcher of Stillwater".
Banastre Tarleton, British Colonel (later General) of the The American Revolution, who was called both "The Butcher" and "Bloody Ban" for his slaughter of Contentinal soldiers coming to surrender to him. The Americans were quick to lob this back at the Brits, using the cry of "Tarleton's quarter!" to mean "take no prisoners". He appeared in an number of American Revolution tales like Disney's The Swamp Fox and as part of the composite Tavington character in the movie The Patriot.
Other Real Life examples
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Travers Harris, commander of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command during World War II, was nicknamed "Butcher" Harris by airmen for his seeming indifference to aircrew losses. The press nicknamed him "Bomber" Harris for his enthusiastic support of strategic heavy bombing. The "Butcher" nickname had nothing to do with the losses the Germans suffered, which were extensive.
The late Slobodan Milosevic was known as "The Butcher of Belgrade" and "The Butcher of the Balkans."
Pompey the Great's father was known as "The Butcher" in Latin, and Pompey the Great himself was known as "Kid Butcher" when he was younger. He adopted "Magnus" later.
By the way: "Kid Butcher" sounds suitably snappy and scary, but in the original Queen's Latin, young Pompey was nicknamed adulescentulus carnifex. No Really.
The Duke of Cumberland was known as "The Butcher" among Jacobite, and in modern times, Scottish nationalists. Squashed the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Accounts of his character vary greatly: some sources cite him as a ruthless and vicious man who terrorised his own men as well as the enemy, while others have him enforcing strict discipline on his men to ensure fair treatment of surrendering Jacobites. One accusation levelled at him was that instead of tending to wounded enemy soldiers on the battlefield (as the warfare etiquette of the time dictated) he simply slaughtered them - hence, "The Butcher."
General Weyler of the Spanish Army, pre-Spanish American War, was known in the United States as the "Butcher" for his actions in Cuba in suppressing the rebel groups. This might have been slightly exaggerated due to the yellow journalism of the era, but still, worth noting for his use of reconcentration camps.
Amusingly (or horrifically) enough, the other side of the Spanish-American War had a guy nicknamed "The Monster."
Nikita Khrushchev was known as the "The Butcher of the Ukraine" in the late 1940's for ruthlessly carrying out Stalin's orders.
Nicolae Ceausescu was known as "The Butcher of Bucharest" for ordering the slaughter of civilian demonstrators just before his fall from power and execution in 1989.
Various Nazis received this nickname:
A high Nazi official, Baron Otto von Bolschwing, was also called "The Butcher of Bucharest".
Klaus Barbie, a Gestapo agent stationed in France became known as "The Butcher of Lyon" for the tortures he carried out. Since the advent of the girls doll line in 1959 his surname has became retroactively hilarious however, which was spoofed by Rat Race when a Jewish family mistakes a "Barbie Museum" run by Neo-Nazis for the other thing.
Reinhard Heydrich (the organizer of the Holocaust) earned the nickname of "The Butcher of Prague" for his brutal rule of the Czech lands.
During the American Civil War, General Grant was referred to this way by his own troops because of his willingness to fight large-scale battles in which large numbers of soldiers on both sides were killed. Surprisingly enough, his men still vastly preferred him to an earlier commander of the Union forces, General McClellan, because McClellan was so timid and mediocre a general that the troops felt that McClellan bungled and wimped out on two perfectly good chances to win decisive battles years before the war would eventually end. Many were sure that if McClellan had just let them fight, they could have won sooner. (Also, McClellan being a Jerk Ass with a vastly inflated ego didn't endear him to anyone...)
The Shankill Butchers, a Northern Irish Protestant terrorist group. Horror movie level sick.
John Clifford the Lord Skipton, a participant in the War of the Roses, is commonly thought to have gotten the moniker for killing Richard Plantagenet's helpless preteen son. Nowadays, this is thought to be a Shakespearean twist, since the son was well into fighting age for that time. It's more commonly believed that he received the title for getting his hands dirty in battle; a rare thing for nobles. ...The more you know?
One of the nicknames given to the unknown perpetrator of the Cleveland Torso Murders was "The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run".
Among Cuban exiles, Che Guevara is known as "El Carnicero de La Cabaņa" (The Butcher of La Cabaņa).
Armin Meiwes, German cannibal known for killing and eating a voluntary victim he had found via the Internet, is known as "Der Metzgermeister" (the Butcher).
Fritz Haarmann, a German serial killer active in the early 1900s, was also known as The Butcher of Hannover (and referred to as "Fritz Haarmann the Butcher" in the Macabre song of the same name).
Israeli Major-General (later Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon became known to his opponents as the Butcher of Beirut after a massacre during the 1982 Lebanon War. The issue seems to be not that he butchered anyone, but that he allowed butchery to occur and did nothing.
William Burke, according to a folksong about the West Port murders: "Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief/ and Knox the man who bought the beef."
Saddam Hussein was called "The Butcher of Baghdad."
Shrikes are cute little birds whose Latin name means "butcher" and are often called "butcher birds." They impale their prey on thorns, which sounds pretty nasty, but they're really just storing bugs for later.
A particularly nasty group of Irish terrorists, this time from the sectarian and racist Protestant side afflliated to the Ulster Volunteer Force, set about ethnic cleansing of Irish Catholics found in Protestant areas of Belfast. Known as the Shankhill Butchers, these terrorists lived up to their name by abducting Catholics and then torturing and murdering them in various horrific ways. The people they murdered were just random Catholics with no IRA or INLA associations - they were murdered simply because they were Catholics. and yes, butchering tools were involved.
Neo-Nazi Tom Metzger's surname is German for "butcher."
The butcher in these commercials in 1983 doesn't like to be bothered by customers looking for Butcher's Blend Dog Food, but he seems a decent guy, much like any character portrayed by Michael Vale.
Anime and Manga
Black Lagoon has an interesting twist with "Sawyer the Cleaner". She "cleans" up bodies with a chainsaw, and sometimes most of the time it seems like those bodies are still alive.
In fact, it's likely Manzo's nickname is meant to be ironic, because he isn't particularly sharp.
In Rustlers' Rhapsody, Peter (the sidekick) tells Rex (the hero) that the hired gun the bad guys are sicking on him is named Bob Barber. This sounds odd to Rex. "Just Bob? Not Bad Bob Barber? Bothersome Bob Barber? Bob the Butcher Barber?"
The Night Butcher from The Schwa Was Here is just a butcher who works at night.
The Hunting of the Snark: He came as a Butcher, but gravely declared/ When the ship had been sailing a week/ He could only kill Beavers, the Bell Man looked scared/ And was almost too frightened to speak.
K.J. Parker's novel Sharps has a General Carnufex known as "The Irrigator", because he won a war by redirecting water to flood an enemy town, killing every one of the thousands of people who lived there in the process. Amusingly, the name Carnufex presumably a reference to the Latin term carnifex which more or less means "butcher".
In the 3rd Rock From The Sun episode "Dick the Mouth Solomon," the guy Sally's dating is called Sammy "The Butcher" Marchetti. She and the rest of the family assume he's a hitman and so all start acting like characters out of a Mafia movie. Sally's relieved and Tommy's disappointed to learn that Sammy is simply an actual butcher.
Also in Porridge, Fletch warns Godber that another prisoner is "The Butcher of Eastgate".(Or somewhere. I can't remember exactly)
Godber: (nervously) "So what did he do?"
Fletch: "Fiddled the VAT on his sausages."
Andy Mrotek, drummer for The Academy Is..., has the nickname "The Butcher."
Roy Brown's "Butcher Pete", about a man who loves to "chop up the ladies' meat." The implication is sexual, but the actual lyrics make it sound very much like "Pete" is a serial killer.
Andy Bell did actually work as a butcher before becoming one of the most camp singers in music's recent history.
In the Commandos series, the Green Beret (the main playable character) is nicknamed "the Butcher", not because of sociopathic or bloodythirsty tendencies, but because he uses a knife as his weapon of choice.
In The Fairly OddParents, some of Wanda's father's company hire a guy called 'The Butcher' to do something unspecified to Wanda. It turns out he actually is a fairy who works as a local butcher, and the boys just wanted to give Wanda a nice meal for her birthday.
The PBS superhero WordGirl has a villain called The Butcher. He wears an old-fashioned butcher's uniform, has some sort of giant cut of meat strapped to his back, and has meat-themed powers. This character is actually a subversion. He creates meat products with his powers, so there's no slaughter implied. He's also dumb, not scary at all.
Peter Leitch, aka "The Mad Butcher", a New Zealand businessman whose butchery chain has earned widespread popularity and who is also known for his charity and Rugby League work. The "mad" also at least partly comes from his Motor Mouth speaking style.
Megalania prisca, a giant extinct monitor lizard, has a genus name that was at first thought to mean "Giant butcher". However, it turns out that the name actually means "Giant wanderer". Shame, because the former meaning sounds much more fitting for such a Badass animal.
The 19th century German bandit Johannes Bückler was mostly known as Schinderhannes, or "John the Butcher". However, he had that name long before he became an infamous criminal since, like all the men in his family, he was a butcher by profession. While he did commit some cases of manslaughter during his criminal career, he wasn't exceptionally vicious, but his name probably helped a lot to make him one of the most well known bandits of the time.