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The Butcher

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"Ahhh... fresh meat!"
The Butcher, Diablo

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.

Bonus points if "The Butcher" is a literal butcher, complete with cleaver, apron, and a penchant for hacking up victims gruesomely.

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 themselves. Their job tends to consist 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 main villain from the '70s Super Robot anime Zambot 3 is called "Killer the Butcher" — as if just "butcher" wasn't evil enough.
  • The Korean Webtoon Hello Hellper takes place in Hell and has a loan shark who's dressed like a butcher. He kills anyone who can't repay his loan, his weapon is a Type III Blade Below the Shoulder that nearly kills a Grim Reaper, his cause of death is listed as "slaughter", and there is some indication that when he died no one mourned him.

    Comic Books 
  • Remi Rome from 100 Bullets who also works at a meat packing factory.
  • Jack Chick uses this, with the title character in "Gomez Is Coming." "Hey, Ricky! Guess how Gomez got named, 'The Butcher.' Because he LOVES to slowly torture his victims until they die!"
  • The DCU:
    • There is a minor Anti-Hero, created during the 90s Dork Age, called the Butcher.
    • The Rage Entity is also named Butcher. As if being the giant bull-like embodiment of Unstoppable Rage wasn't obvious enough.
  • Billy Butcher (whose father was a baker, ironically enough), 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 definition 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.
  • A squad of airmen in Arrowsmith earns the nickname "Butchers of Holbrück."
  • In Marvel Comics' The Transformers, more specifically mentioned in their 'Universe' personnel files, ít is said Seacon leader Snaptrap earned the moniker 'The Butcher of the Bogs' by singlehandedly massacring a regiment of Autobots in the Toxic Sludge Swamps.
  • Taken to a whole new level by a Thor villain going by "Gorr the God Butcher". That's not an exaggeration, it's exactly what he does - brutally slaughtering gods.
    • It wasn't actually taken to new levels, given that he was preceded by Desak the God-Slayer who did pretty much the exact same thing for the exact same reason. But, admittedly, Desak did not butcher gods... he slew them. With an axe, usually.
    • Gorr's weapon All-Black the Necrosword's corrupting influence (it's actually the first Symbiote) turns those who wield it into examples of this trope. Galactus the World Devourer became Galactus the World Butcher when he bonded to All-Black. When Loki got a hold of it, he became Loki the All-Butcher.
  • Victor Zsasz of Batman is sometimes known as The Butcher. He's an Ax-Crazy sociopathic Knife Nut Serial Killer who (according to the Batman: Arkham Series, anyway) occasionally mutilates his victims in addition to killing them.
  • Atomic Robo volume 9 features "Butcher" Caldwell - as Doc Holiday puts it, he didn't get the name because of his charm.
  • Sith scientist Vul Isen from Star Wars Legacy is nicknamed “the Butcher of Dac” after creating a toxin that successfully wipes out 80% of all life on the Mon Calamari homeworld, Dac.
  • A less evil version of this trope appears in Markosia Comics Slaughterman's Creed, which involves a mentally-challenged slaughterman who works as an inter-generational executioner for a crime family until he was tasked with killing a pregnant woman.
  • The picture in the thumbnail, is Zanipolo Joyce aka "Butcher" Joyce from The Darkness. Butcher Joyce is a friend of Jackie's and a cleaner for the mob, who's there to chop up bodies and make the evidence go away.

    Fan Works 
  • The Butcher Bird has the eponymous ghoul pirate, Yoshimura Kaneki. He definitely deserves the name.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami 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 addressed 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 (Allora Gale) 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.

  • In the film version of Wanted, the Butcher is a brutal knife fighter.
  • In Delicatessen, the main antagonist Clapet has an apartment building and runs a butcher shop on the ground floor. He lures unemployed people into working for him, and then murders and butchers them in order to feed himself and his tenants. The protagonist, Louison, is one such unsuspecting victim.
  • In Wild Wild West (1999), General "Bloodbath" McGrath is also known as "The Butcher of New Liberty", for the annihilation of a town founded by freed slaves 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.
  • The film Necronomicon (which tries to be an anthology of H. P. Lovecraft stuff but has very little to do with anything he wrote) has an episode that starts with cops tracking a Serial Killer called the Butcher, but then the story gets hijacked by pro-life aliens. Apparently, the story was meant to be an adaptation of The Whisperer in Darkness.
  • 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.
  • In the DTV movie The Butcher, Eric Roberts character has this nickname. He hates it.
  • Indestructible Man is about "Butcher" Benton (Lon Chaney, Jr.), who becomes nigh-indestructible after being brought Back from the Dead.
  • 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. An Indochina vet, he has little quirks. One of which is murder...
  • The Butcher in Flag of Iron is a ruthless, bloodthirsty murderer who, when not killing people, masquerades... as a butcher in a market.
  • Subverted in The Guns of Navarone. A team member known as "The Butcher of Barcelona" is actually burnt out after years of killing and gets killed himself when he hesitates to kill an enemy.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has Salazar's title of "El Matador del Mar" translated as The Butcher Of the Sea (the actual Spanish term is Carnicero, matador is simply "killer").
  • Baby Driver features an Arms Dealer called The Butcher, who describes the weapons he sells as though they were cuts of pork.
  • Night Train to Lisbon: Mendez the secret policeman was called "the Butcher of Lisbon".
  • The eponymous Indestructible Man is Charles "The Butcher" Benson.

  • 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 (a species of small predatory bird, sometimes known as the butcher-bird), appropriately enough.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • The series 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.
    • After Cleon's death via Bodyguard Betrayal, Cleon II becomes King, but is murdered by a barber who becomes King in turn. The new, new King is always referred to as King Cutthroat.
  • Cassius Mass in Space Opera series Lucifer's Star he is known as both The Fire Count by his side of the war and The Butcher of Kolthas Station by his enemies.
  • In Wild Cards, superpowered secret serviceman Billy Ray goes by 'Carnifex', although he's more of a violent Jerkass than anything else.
  • One of the characters in The Bellmaker is a shrike. In both the book and Real Life, shrikes are also known as butcher birds. In the book, the nickname comes from being completely Ax-Crazy. (In real life, the nickname comes from what they do with their prey.)
  • In James Patterson's Cross, the main antagonist is nicknamed The Butcher. By Himself.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga: Aral "Butcher of Komarr" Vorkosigan. A rare not-actually-earned title, though.
    • In the back story the Pierre Le Sanguinerre was warleader for Dorca the Just and served him whenever Dorca wanted an unruly 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. They didn't even bother to make up any particular evil deeds to justify the title.
  • In the Flora Segunda books, an important figure in the setting's history is called the Butcher Brakespeare. The details establish the Butcher as a legendary Fiery Redheaded Lady of War with a whip. In her teens, she was a Cute Bruiser. In the time traveled to, she wasn't grown up yet.
  • 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".
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Great White Hunter Ned Land accuses Nemo of this when Nemo Kick The Cachalots in a massacre.
    "Well, sir," replied the Canadian, whose enthusiasm had somewhat calmed; "it is a terrible spectacle, certainly. But I am not a butcher. I am a hunter, and I call this a butchery."
    "It is a massacre of mischievous creatures," replied the Captain; "and the Nautilus is not a butcher's knife."
  • Skol the Butcher, an outlaw prince ruling his own Wretched Hive, in the Robert E. Howard story "The Blood of Belshazzar".
  • Backyard abortionist 'Butcher George' in the Phryne Fisher novel Cocaine Blues.
  • In Star Wars Expanded Universe 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.
  • In Aeon 14, protagonist Major Tanis Richards is known in Sol as the "Butcher of Toro", but it's indicated early on that it's undeserved. After leaving Sol on a colony ship, she tells the real story of Toro to her Love Interest. She was investigating a Cult Colony, discovered the cult leader had turned everyone on the planet into Nigh-Invulnerable mindless monsters with Bio-Augmentation, and was forced to order an Orbital Bombardment that destroyed the entire dwarf planet. The circumstances were then covered up for political reasons and she had to take the fall.
  • There was a short-lived Action-Adventure series called The Butcher about a former hitman fighting the Mafia. The protagonist's name was actually Bucher, but inevitably he picked up this trope as a moniker.
  • In Worm, the Butcher is the leader of brutal a villain gang called The Teeth. Whenever the Butcher is killed, they pass on a portion of their powers to their killer, as well as their mind as a voice in the killer's head. This includes all of the previous Butchers' powers and voices as well. The Butcher who appears in the story is number fourteen, and has a long list of powers including superhuman strength and durability, pain inducement, the ability to see circulatory systems through walls, danger sense, the ability to cause festering wounds, explosive teleportation, the ability to shape raw matter into objects, rage inducement, pain immunity, and homing attacks.
  • In James Carlos Blake's "Friends of Pancho Villa" Fiero is called The Butcher and very, very proud of that nickname, because he killed 300 men in one hour with a revolver.
  • In Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels, the title character is friends with an Irish-American gangster, Mick "The Butcher" Ballou. Mick's father was a real butcher, and Mick sometimes wears his father's old apron and carries a massive cleaver. According to legend, he cut off an enemy's head and carried it around in a bag for a night, showing it to people. Through their long friendship Mick never confirms to Matt whether or not there's any truth to the story... but Matt has seen him use the cleaver.
  • Only Walk So Far: Gauls who prove themselves especially effective at killing Wends are given this title.
  • A Practical Guide To Evil has several of these among Dread Emperors, such as "The Tanner" for a connaisseur of Genuine Human Hide, "The Gourmet" for a cannibal, and "The Linguist" for one known to say "No matter what language they speak, everyone sounds the same when you pull out their fingernails".

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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".
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke has The Butcher (or just Butcher) AKA Tomasyn White, wife of the leader of the Roanoke colonists who conducted human sacrifices and later killed everyone. She and her gang of ghosts kill everyone who sets foot on their land (except for the hillbillies with whom they have a deal).
  • Babylon 5:
    • 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. Again, this is ignoring the fact that the Black Star answered the false distress signal in order to destroy the supposedly helpess ship.
  • Blake's 7: Bayban the Butcher in "City at the Edge of the World". As there's a Running Gag over Bayban being obsessed about his notoriety as a criminal, he probably chose the moniker himself. Though Bayban clearly deserves it given Vila's Oh, Crap! reaction on meeting him; he even resents Blake for having eclipsed him on the Federation Most Wanted list purely because Blake is a political dissident.
  • The Brady Bunch: Averted Trope with Sam the Butcher.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine has Jimmy "The Butcher" Figgis, an "A-list mobster" and one of the show's more serious villains.
  • Burnistoun has the Burnistoun Butcher, a ruthless Serial Killer. Unfortunately people frequently mistake him for an actual butcher, and so he receives no notoriety for his crimes despite being nearly caught many times (and goes around everywhere in a blood-stained coat).
  • 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.
  • In Defiance, Joshua Nolan is known as the "Butcher of Yosemite" after taking part in the slaughter of a human and Votan settlement. The rogue General Ripper Rahm Tak tries to get in on the fun when holding a knife to the neck of Nolan's adoptive daughter.
    Rahm Tak: I WILL SHOW YOU A BUTCHER! I AM THE BUTCHER OF— [aside] Where are we?
    VC trooper: Tulsa, sir.
    Rahm Tak: I am the butcher of TULSA!
  • 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 Talons of Weng-Chiang", the villain is Magnus Greel, "The Butcher of Brisbane", the Minister of Justice who killed 100,000 people in his experiments. And anyone who actually lives in Brisbane will find the concept of it being home to anything so exciting as a war criminal hilarious.
    • In "Twice Upon A Time", the Testimony rattles off a list of the Doctor's titles, which includes "the Butcher of Skull Moon", after a particularly bloody battle in the Last Great Time War.
  • Fred Johnson from The Expanse is known as The Butcher of Anderson Station for killing everyone aboard because they complained that their low oxygen rations were causing brain damage in their children. Oh and he waited until they tried to surrender to massacre them. You'd never know it from talking to him, though. Turns out he wasn't told that they were surrendering and that lie combined with a major Heel Realization eventually turned him against he old employers.
  • A French Village: Jean Marchetti is labeled "The Butcher" for his participation in a massacre within Villeneuve.
  • Iron Fist (2017): Two Russian agents of the Hand are butchers and use large butcher knives.
  • 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 Gentlemen: Hilary Briss, Demon Butcher of Royston Vasey. 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".
  • Robin of Sherwood has Philip Mark, the replacement Sheriff of Nottingham in the episode "The Sheriff of Nottingham". He is known as "the Butcher of Lincoln" and is just as nasty as the name suggests.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "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.

  • Coheed and Cambria's album The Afterman: Ascension features the song "Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher." The character in question is a Sociopathic Soldier who commits many atrocities on the battlefield and kills his own men to cover up his crimes. Later, Vic burns down his apartment building, killing himself and a number of innocents (including many children), rather than face trial.
  • A French folk song about Saint Nicholas involves three young children who asked to stay the night at a butcher's shop. The butcher killed them and chopped them up (in one version, his wife pushed him to do it to steal the children's money), hiding the parts in a vat of salt. Seven years later, Saint Nicholas drops by, asking to spend the night, and when the butcher asks him what he wants to eat, the saint asks for bacon that's been salting for seven years. The butcher runs like hell, the saint calls out that his sins will be forgiven if he repents, and resurrects the children, who claim to have slept so well they though they were in paradise.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • 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.
    • Mazarall, a Daemon Prince of Khorne from Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, gained the title of ‘the Butcher’ for his remorseless slaughter and devouring of both mortal and daemonic foes.
    • 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 beetle, 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 crushing them under its feet.
      • In older editions of the background, it was applied to items of wargear used by the Apothecaries of the Space Marines: 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 Bio-Augmentation known as progenoid glandsnote  (that particular piece of kit is still there, but it's now called a Reductor).
  • "The Butcher" is one of the most feared serial killers in Deadlands; he's apparently a deranged military surgeon who gave Hank "One-Eye" Ketchum his nickname. The Butcher, though, isn't a human, or even a monster. It's a scalpel that possesses its owner, possibly including a Player Character. It's implied it was what created Jack the Ripper.
  • The Pathfinder adventure "Edge of Anarchy" from the "Curse of the Crimson Throne" adventure path, 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.
    • Additionally, there's an exotic orcish weapon called the Butchering Axe. It possesses the highest base damage of all the weapons in the game, but requires 18 Strength to wield it properly.
  • 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.
  • Magic: The Gathering,
    • Mishra was at one point called the Butcher of Kroog.
    • Vona, The Butcher of Magan is a vampire psychopath who murdered her subjects out of boredom. Unlike many members of the Legion of Dusk, who seek true eternal life that will free them of their blood thirst, she relishes her predatory instincts and serves only because they give her license to kill people.
  • BattleTech has unsavory characters like Amos Forlough, whose idea of an appropriate response to civilian protests was to raze cities and systematically execute 10% of a population at his discretion, or the violent yet incompetent Tolstin Eukai, both of whom had appellations like "the Butcher" for their ruthless tactics. Forlough got the even more unsavory nickname of "The Baby-Killer," which is not the demonizing hyperbole that it sounds like.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has Yeenoghu, the Demon Prince of Butchery. His whole sctick is savagery and cannibalism. He wants to eventually consume every sentient being in the multiverse.
  • A collective example: in Unknown Armies, Thanatomancers, adepts who gain immortality through ritualistic serial killings, are nicknamed "Butchers" by the rest of the Occult Underground.

  • William Shakespeare's 2 Henry VI features a minor character called Dick the Butcher who takes part in an uprising in London. Although the name refers to his actual profession, 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 appearance of Richard III, who makes his debut at the end of the play (and will often be called a butcher by other characters).
  • Mack "the Knife" from The Threepenny Opera as well as one of his mooks, known as Robert "the Saw". In the original The Beggar's Opera, one highwayman character is known as Wat (Walter) Dreary, with Dreary meaning something like "bloodthirsty" back then.

    Theme Parks 
  • At Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream event in 2013, one of the members of the sinister group, "The 13", was simply named, "The Butcher".

    Video Games 
  • "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. The very first boss of the game, 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...
      • ...and back again in the Reaper of Souls expansion as a rift-guardian named Man-Carver.
    • And he's back again... in Heroes of the Storm
  • Pudge the Butcher from Dota and Dota 2 is inspired by the Diablo character listed above. You really won't like it when he goes missing, because that usually implies a meathook will be flying out of the woods soon enough, and whoever gets caught in it will not be seen again for a while.
  • In Silent Hill: 0rigins, 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's Dragon 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.
  • In Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, Pirate captain Hawke's Rival is known only as 'The Butcher'. The main point of contention between them is that The Butcher favors Kill 'Em All, while Hawke is supposed to be more compassionate and sensible. (Though that doesn't bar the player from butchering the entire crew of the ships he attacks in his prologue...)
  • 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.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Commander Shepard 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?"
  • 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.
  • Castlevania has two examples
  • Shadow Hearts: From the New World has the Butcher creature apppearing earlier in the Game. It is described as the "Resentful thoughts left behind by men who killed only for pleasure". Appearance-wise, it wears a blood-stained apron and carry a large meat cleaver. It also has a slob of meat for head and half the ribcage of a cow as a crude shield of some sorts.
  • Shank has a boss named "the Butcher", who is fought inside a meat-packing plant and uses a grappling hook for a weapon. Shank finishes him off by attaching him to a hook and having him get dragged into a grinder. You do fight another Butcher beforehand in a wrestling ring, but he turns out to be fake and Shank is quickly sent to the correct Butcher afterwards.
  • 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 notable enemy NPC called Maneater Mildred, who wears the creepy burlap sack that the aforementioned Butchers hide their faces with (and nothing else) and uses their oversized meat cleaver. A line by another NPC implies that the two Butchers are her mooks, even though you encounter her much later in a completely different area of the game.
  • The Big Bad of Ground Control II: Operation Exodus is Imperator Vlaana Azleea, the Butcher of Ariel, after she has ordered the Ariel colony (the birthplace of the Northern Star Alliance) razed.
  • Saints Row PC "The Boss" is also called "The Butcher of Stilwater"[[/note]]It's with one L, bitch![[/note]]. By the third game, the PC has killed at least hundreds. Then Serial Escalation comes along.
  • Silent Scope has Scorpion the Butcher in the first game, and Fox the Butcher in the second.
  • Evil Genius: one optional henchman is simply known as "The Butcher". He's a doctor who was driven mad by a cursed cannibal pancreas.
  • An enemy Zentraedi ace in Robotech: Battlecry earns the title The Butcher Of Little Mesa after he orders the destruction of bunkers full of civilians for no apparent reason other than spite.
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is available as a DLC Guest Fighter. One of his variations is called Butcher.
  • In Faster Than Light, a race was added in the Advanced Edition expansion called the Lanius. Lanius is Latin for Butcher.
  • The second boss of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is also called "Butcher". His reputation is so fearsome that even the first boss feels uneasy when talking about him.
  • Arkail in Of Orcs and Men got the nickname "The Butcher of Bay Harbor" among orcs after he completely lost his shit during a battle against humans and slaughtered everyone.
  • In MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, one of your possible campaign missions has you hunting down a certain Draconis Combine Sho-sa Varus, AKA Varus the Butcher. He ordered his Battlemechs to fire on civilian protesters, gruesomely massacring over 200 people. The Free Prosperina Mutineers pay you to ensure he goes home in a small plastic box.
  • Armello has the Griotte of the Rat Clan, also known as the "Butcher Baroness". Her main weapon is a cleaver, she wears an apron with a Bloody Handprint over her Pimped-Out Dress, and she's generally implied to be a Serial Killer who eats her victims.
  • The Serial Killer who must be caught in one quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is known as "The Butcher of Windhelm."
  • The Big Bad of Purgatory (RPG Maker) is a tall, Ambiguously Human man known only as The Butcher, who spends his time butchering the corpses of his victims and having them hanged in freezers upside down like actual butchers.
  • Some of the developers behind Carrion have previously made a side-scrolling platform shooter simply called BUTCHER, in which you are a cyborg programmed to exterminate humanity.

    Web Original 

    Web Comics 
  • 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 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 introduced to Mordecai (in canon) wielding a bloody hatchet and an irritated expression. It fits.
  • This guy in Questionable Content.

    Western Animation 
  • The Butcher Boy from Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids episode of that title.
  • 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...
  • The eponymous villain of the Dog City episode "Meat the Butcher" is an Ax-Crazy psychopath who doesn't fit The Family for the Whole Family vibe of the usual villains, and who Eliot is not comfortable writing about. Goes for the full butcher look.
  • In Wakfu: major Shushu (A kind of demon sealed inside an object, in this case a large sword) Burloif is known as "The Butcher", and is such a beast even his fellow Shushu are scared shitless of him, with one even commenting that "Life without you is so... less dead..." From what little we see of his powers (stabbing his sword in a wall causes the entire building to crack and crumble after a few seconds), his reputation isn't exaggerated.
  • Dofus, female example with Julith, an extemely powerful Huppermage knows as the "Butcheress of Brakmar" for her power and ruthlessness. Lampshaded at one point in the film where the protagonist Joris complains that learning that his own mother is someone who went by the nickname of "the Butcheress" isn't something very heartening to learn.

Fictional examples used ironically

  • 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.
  • The Butcher: Merle Hench, the titular Hitman with a Heart, is a subversion, being a retired Professional Killer and a Cool Old Guy, but when push comes to shove, he can kick plenty of ass and take names in shootouts.

  • Discworld
    • In 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".
    • 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 quasi-demonic 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 The Last Hero, Card-Carrying Villain Evil Harry has a henchman simply named "Butcher" (Cohen The Barbarian himself approves). Harry's "Butcher" is an archetypal dungeon keeper — meaning he's fat, lazy, gullible, and keeps his dungeon keys where the heroes can easily reach them.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga 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).

    Live-Action Television 
  • Fargo: Ed is a professional butcher, but when he gets inadvertently mixed up in a Mob War, gangsters assume that he's a contract killer. They frequently refer to him as "the butcher," and he eventually uses this to his advantage, calling himself the Butcher of Luverne to give himself gravitas.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Tyler Bateman's red baron. He's just a strange and unpredictable dude in general.
  • Southpaw Regional Wrestling, the WWE's Affectionate Parody of 80's independent wrestling, has the tag team champions in season two be "The Butchers", a tag team made up of "Dry Rub" Doug and Frantic Frank. They fit the trope in title, in personality, and in secondary occupation, as their gimmick is that they are literally a pair of butchers, with their promo being recorded in the cold room of a butcher's shop, with the belts being hung up on meat hooks behind them, right next to Betsy, which appears to be a cow's leg. In fact, it's questionable whether it's just a gimmick or if they are actually butchers outside of the ring, as it's revealed that they end up having to vacate the tag team title after being linked to an E. Coli outbreak.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • In 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.
  • Averted in Hey Arnold!, where local butcher Mr. Green is a decent, hardworking, nonviolent man. Also averted in an episode where Arnold and Gerald suspect two other butchers of wanting to hurt Mr. Green when they are only planning a surprise party for him. As Mr. Green says, "Butchers wouldn't hurt a fly," to which one of the other butchers says, "Maybe a cow, but not a fly."

Video Game "accomplishments"

    Video Games 
  • 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 2: 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 & Magick 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".
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, if you get to the end of the Arena questline, you can choose this as a nickname before the grand championship match.
  • Terran Republic soldiers in PlanetSide 2 unlock the T9A "Butcher" light machine gun after killing 1160 enemies on five separate LMGs. Dummied Out code in the Halloween 2014 event showed that one of the titles players would have been able to unlock was "The Butcher", applied at the end of the user's name rather than before as with all other titles.

Real Life examples who have appeared in fiction

  • Bill "the Butcher" Cutting in Gangs of New York is based on Bill "the Butcher" Poole, a real gang-leader of the era and a butcher by trade.
  • Culloden features the Duke of Cumberland, who was known as "The Butcher" among Jacobites, and in modern times, Scottish nationalists. He squashed the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, and 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 leveled 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."
  • Marshal Rodolfo Graziani in Lion of the Desert (1981) is sent by Benito Mussolini to subjugate a native rebellion in Libya. The rebels are justly concerned over the arrival of the notorious 'Butcher', though in truth Graziani earned this nickname as a result of his activities in Libya, not before he arrived.
  • Resistance has Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon", perhaps the most notorious Torture Technician of The Gestapo.
  • Schindler's List: While never referred to as such within the film proper, SS Officer Amon Goeth was known as the Butcher of Plaszow in Real Life, having achieved notoriety for killing, abusing, and torturing prisoners on a whim. Also excluded from the film is the fact that the Nazi Government suspended him for his severe mistreatment of prisoners.

  • "The Butcher of Riga"- Edward Roschmann, Nazi War Criminal, antagonist of The Odessa File.

    Live-Action TV 
  • "The Butcher of the Somme"- Field Marshal Haig, who appears in Blackadder. So named by his own men because of his willingness to sacrifice countless troops in order to achieve a minute gain in territory. Several historians have made a good case that his reputation as a heartless butcher is a serious distortion of the actual facts. Though others say it's too generous.
  • 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

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • On The Other Wiki, the title "Butcher of the Balkans" leads to a disambiguation page, because of how many different people have held that title. The most famous of them, the late Slobodan Milosevic, was also known as "The Butcher of Belgrade."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wannabe-Stalinist Nicolae Ceaușescu (his brutal austerity policies put him closer in line with Mussolini) was known as "The Butcher of Bucharest" for ordering the slaughter of civilian demonstrators. This was right before his fall from power, when the Romanians finally got sick of him and his harridan wife plundering the treasury. The couple fled the country via helicopter, but hilariously crashed into the Black Sea due to overloading it with lucre. He was quickly found guilty in a show trial and executed on Christmas Day.
  • Several prominent Nazis, as they took part in the regime's infamous war crimes and/or crimes against humanity during World War II. These are the same guys who stuck crossbones on their caps even though it made German citizens "become sick", according to Heinrich Himmler they wanted to inspire fear, not respect. A few others earned epiphets like "The Beast of X".
    • Reinhard Heydrich was a gadfly who didn't really believe in anything but liked power; he compensated for his lack of smarts by being especially brutal. He also blackmailed and intimidated rivals, muscling his way onto the ground floor of Nazism, and developed a reputation for pettiness. Some of his libelous writings were used as a pretext for the famous "Night of the Long Knives" in '34, when Hitler purged all dissenters in his party, especially the "suspected Bolsheviks" (read: moderates). Heydrich's wife was a staunch believer in Strasserism i.e. socialism for the white masses, but turned against him during his SS career; she said her husband was "fully aware of his role as hangman but knew how to justify it positively." Supposedly, it was he who floated the idea of Hitler's "Final Solution": Heydrich never really had a coherent plan for a Jew-free Europe, and he was recorded spitballing some ideas at the Wannsee Conference of '42, of which industrialized murder was one option. It paid off: his state funeral was one of the largest of its kind in the Third Reich. Heydrich became associated with these various epithets (butcher, hangman, etc.) largely because of the of the Reich's response to his assassination. (He noticed the would-be assassins, stupidly exited his car and walked into the killbox to try and plug two people with a pistol, but he missed and got blown up by an anti-tank grenade.) They punished the Czechs for sheltering the British SOE team who killed Heydrich by razing Lidice and committing other massacres; it was excessive even by Nazi standards. Heydrich was so hateable, and the aftermath of his death was so bloody, that the Allies used him as propaganda even in death.
    • A high Nazi official, Baron Otto von Bolschwing, was called "The Butcher of Bucharest".
    • Klaus Barbie, a Gestapo officer stationed in France, became known as "The Butcher of Lyon" for the tortures he carried out (he also had hundreds of Jews rounded up and deported). 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.
    • The Gauleiter note  Robert Heinrich Wagner was nicknamed "The Butcher of Alsace", as he sentenced many people to death in the course of the germanization of the area after its annexation following the French defeat of 1940, and also because he ordered the conscription of thousands of local young men (who were born French) in the German armies. About one third of these conscripts died, the majority on the dreaded Eastern front.
    • The Nazi puppet regime in Croatia produced a man named Vjekoslav "Max" Luburic, who was in charge of a particularly nasty concentration camp (Jasenovac) and organized mass killings of Serb, Jewish and Roma civilians, in which he personally participated. As a result, he got the nickname "Max the Butcher".
  • During the American Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant was referred to as butcher by his own troops because of his habit of waging large-scale battles of attrition that decimated both sides. The South had fewer men and a compromised supply line. Ironically, his predecessor George McClellan was venerated by his troops for flagrantly ignoring Lincoln's orders and refusing to fight any battles; he preoccupied his men with endless maneuvers and kept them out of harm's way. It's speculated that McClellan was planning a run at the Presidency and saw Lincoln as a rival; furthermore, he couldn't risk fighting the CSA without losing critical southern votes. In any case, McClellan bungled and wimped out on two vital chances to smash the Confederacy before the war finally ended. But it hurt Grant's legacy, too: Many historians still insist that Grant only won the war by "throwing bodies" at the rebels, whereas his opponent Robert E. Lee is lionized in America as a good man fighting for a bad cause. Grant is typically marginalized in the history books as one of Lincoln's employees.
  • 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 Cabaña" (The Butcher of La Cabaña).
  • Armin Meiwes, German cannibal known for killing and eating a voluntary victim he had found via the Internet, is known as "Der Metzgermeister" (the Master 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 folk song about the West Port murders: "Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief/ and Knox the man who bought the beef."
  • Saddam Hussein actually embraced the nickname "The Butcher of Baghdad" in an interview, saying that it implied a strong leader. A former street thug-turned-strongman dictator, he was allowed to fester for far too long; he took over the U.S.-backed Ba'ath Party and purged all of his potential rivals, including close friends he'd known for years. By the end, Saddam and his sons had become self-parodies on par with the Kim Dynasty. (Urban Dictionary called him the real-life Wario.) Saddam was so violent and creepy, lifelong lefties like Christopher Hitchens became hardcore neo-conservatives thanks to him. Even in death, Saddam poses a dilemma in that regard, since he was accidentally put in power by the U.S., and his removal was very costly: Donald Trump largely campaigned on driving the neo-cons out of his party, and ISIS took over the country for a while.
  • Shrikes are cute little birds whose Latin name (Lanius/Laniidae) 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. And lizards. And mice.
    • They are also an excellent real-life example of a Killer Rabbit. They can be shy in the wild, but researchers have to handle them wearing heavy gloves—their hooked bills can easily take the meat off of fingers, and when captured, shrikes get annoyed enough to happily do just that.
  • A particularly nasty group of Ulster Loyalist terrorists during The Troubles linked to the paramilitary group the Ulster Volunteer Force set about ethnic cleansing of Irish Catholics found in Loyalist 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 Irish Catholics. and yes, butchering tools were involved.
  • Neo-Nazi Tom Metzger's surname is German for "butcher."
  • Carnufex is a prehistoric crocodile from the dinosaur age that walked on two legs whose genus name means "butcher".
  • The marsupial lion, Thylacoleo carnifex, whose name means "pouched lion butcher" and was one of the largest marsupial predators to ever live and is believed to have had the strongest bite force to body size of any predatory land mammal.
  • Chinese general Bai Qi from the Warring states period, also known by his cognomen 人屠 ("butcher of humans") on account of having reportedly been directly responsible for the death of at least a million people, which even on today's scale would be considered genocide. Common war strategies back then included forcibly conscripting all able men above the age of 15 and executing surrendered enemy armies whole, which may explain how he managed to reach such a figure in the third century BC.


  • 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 most of the time it seems like those bodies are still alive.
  • Sig Curtis from Fullmetal Alchemist is a butcher, but isn't particularly violent. Don't provoke him, though. It's for your own good.
  • Samurai Champloo has the Clueless Detective Manzo the Saw who isn't particularly violent or competent: the nickname comes from the fact that he doesn't bother to take care of his sword, so the blade is jagged and dull. He's a parody of Hanzo the Razor, who did some pretty squicky things, but wasn't particularly bloodthirsty either.
    • In fact, it's likely Manzo's nickname is meant to be ironic, because he isn't particularly sharp.
  • Former Professional Wrestler Shibata Genzo of Kemono Michi quickly makes a name for himself as the "Demon Beast Killer", for his legendary skill in subduing even the most dangerous of monsters. The reality of it is, however, is that he's an animal lover, he won't ever kill a demonic beast even if his life depends on it, and he hates the moniker, to the point where he will unhesitatingly perform a pro wrestling move on anyone who calls him that to his face.

  • 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?"
  • Carry On Behind. Professor Crump wakes up after being knocked unconscious to find a strange man (Fred the butcher) leaning over him. When Fred introduces himself by profession, Crump screams in terror.

  • Twisted in Iain M. Banks' The Culture novel Use of Weapons where an important character is called "The Chairmaker". The name comes from his Moral Event Horizon.
  • The Night Butcher from The Schwa Was Here is just a butcher who works at night.
  • The Hunting of the Snark:
    • In Fit One: 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.
    • But in Fit Five: Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became/Have seldom if ever been known/ In winter or summer, 'twas always the same/You could never meet either alone
  • 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".

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Shrikes, a type of songbird notorious for their habit of skewering their prey on thorns (typically small lizards and rodents), are also known as "butcher birds" because of this: it's said to resemble a butcher hanging a carcass to cut meat from it.
  • The aforementioned title "Carnifex" previously referred to public executioners in Rome.
  • The Urobutcher got his Fan Nickname from a reputation of Anyone Can Die regarding the content of his works.
  • Designer Butcher Billy (not to be confused with Billy Butcher) took his nickname for an Irish ancestor who actually was a butcher and even fought in the Irish war of independence with a cleaver.


Video Example(s):


The Butcher

Oleander's father manifests in his mind as a giant, monstrous Butcher.

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Example of:

Main / TheButcher

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Main / TheButcher