hecatomb


noun

  1. (in ancient Greece and Rome) a public sacrifice of 100 oxen to the gods.
  2. any great slaughter: the hecatombs of modern wars.

noun

  1. (in ancient Greece or Rome) any great public sacrifice and feast, originally one in which 100 oxen were sacrificed
  2. a great sacrifice
n.

1590s, from Greek hekatombe “offering of 100 oxen,” but generally “a great public sacrifice,” from hekaton “one hundred” (perhaps from hen, neuter of eis “one” + *katon “hundred”) + bous “ox.” The first month of the Attic calendar (corresponding to July-August) was Hekatombaion, in which sacrifices were made.

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