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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.
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 don't slaughter anything to begin. All they really do is chop big hunks of meat into smaller hunks of meat.
- 1 Fictional examples used straight
- 2 Fictional examples used ironically
- 3 Video Game "accomplishments"
- 4 Real Life examples who have appeared in fiction
- 5 Other Real Life examples
- 6 Subversions
Fictional examples used straight
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remi Rome from 100 Bullets who is also works at a meat packing factory.
- Jack Chick uses this, with the titular 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 has a minor Anti-Hero, created during the 90s Dork Age, called the Butcher.
- 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".
- 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.
- "The Butcher of Musashi", an appellation falsely given to Gryphon in Undocumented Features after he is framed for a mass murder. The android look-alike who actually committed the crime is eventually called just "The Butcher".
- Boris the Butcher from the film The Man Who Knew Too Little is something of a parody. He's certainly a brutal and ruthless Career Killer (we're told that he once decapitated a man). But he's also a literal butcher as his day job.
- 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.
- 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, but you'd never know.
- 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.
- "Butcher" Brown (AKA "The Butcher of Barcelona") in The Guns of Navarone.
- In the DTV movie The Butcher, Eric Roberts character has this nickname. He hates it.
- The Indestructible Man is about "Butcher" Benton (Lon Chaney, Jr.), who becomes nigh-indestructible after being brought Back from the Dead.
- 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 - pretty much 'The Butcher' (well, The Slaughterman) only in Spanish.
- Geralt, the main character of Andrzej Sapkowski's The Last Wish (recently turned into a PC game called The Witcher), is known as "The Butcher of Blaviken" after one of the book's stories, a matter of thwarted revenge, a high body count and a really twisted Snow White variant.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Belisarius Series Venendakatra is called "the Vile". Commentary latter says that is worse then butcher: at least butchers can be respected while they are hated. But everyone knew he was not just cruel but an incompetent general not to mention a slimy coward among all his other vices.
- The Vorkosigan Saga: Aral "Butcher of Komarr" Vorkosigan. A rare not-actually-earned title, though.
- In the, er, more "interesting" times of Emperor Dorca's reign, Dorca's chief general was named La'Sanguinare(Bloody). And yes he went to a lot of work earning the title, though a lot of his targets clearly had it coming to them.
- 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. It should be noted 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 the Flora Segunda books, an important figure in the setting's history is called the Butcher Brakespeare. Let it be noted that this trope is not, in fact, Always Male; the details establish the Butcher as a legendary Fiery Redheaded Lady of War with a whip.
- 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 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.
- 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".
- The Witcher Geralt of Rivia is sometimes known as "The Butcher of Blaviken". Granted, what went down in Blaviken wasn't entirely his fault...
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Great White Hunter Ned Land accuses Nemo of this when Nemo Kick The Cachalots in a massacre.
- 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 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.
- The hero of Jack Higgins' Wrath of the Lion earned "The Butcher of Perak" cleaning out some particularly vicious Communist terrorists in Malaya in the early 1950s. They found out the hard way a British officer could be just as ruthless as they were.
- In Leslie Barringer's Low Fantasy Gerfalcon, Lorin de Campscapel is the Butcher Count of Alanol. Part of the year he seems somewhat reasonable, at least as much so as a Feudal Overlord who also leads an army of bandits can be. But then, especially in springtime, a killing insanity comes over him and he earns his evil reputation and then some....
- In the Doctor Who 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.
- Dexter Morgan of Dexter 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.
- Bayban the Butcher in the Blakes Seven episode "City at the Edge of the World".
- The title character of the Babylon 5 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.
- In the same vein, 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.
- In the DS9 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.
- In one episode of Monk, the victim turns out to be a war criminal known as the Butcher of Zemenia.
- In Leverage, "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!
- In season 7 of 24, The Dragon is Colonel Dubaku, "Butcher of Sangala".
- Hilary Briss, Demon Butcher of Royston Vasey, on The League of Gentlemen. 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...
- Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun, 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.
- 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.
- Season six of Criminal Minds 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.
- El Internado has Ritter Wulf, who was nicknamed "The Butcher of Belzec" because he was a sort of Mengele in said concentration field.
- Sam the Butcher, of The Brady Bunch, is a notable aversion.
- The final villain in Little Orphan Annie was a terrorist leader called the Butcher of the Balkans.
- 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" 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.
- Gohei was named "the Butcher" before that - more specifically during the Clan Wars 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 crushing them under its bulk.
- 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 anatomy known as progenoid glands (as a side note, 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.
- 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". Of course, the free meat mostly comes from the victims of the mercenary work.
- Mutants and 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 Fantasy Battle 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.
- Mishra, from Magic: The Gathering, was at one point called the Butcher of Kroog.
- 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).
- Mack "the Knife" from The Threepenny Opera as well as one of his mooks, known as Robert "the Saw". In the original The Beggars Opera, one highwayman character is known as Wat (Walter) Dreary, with Dreary meaning something like "bloodthirsty" back then.
- "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.
- 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. Not to mention that the floor in his arena periodically catches fire...
- World of Warcraft itself has many bosses with this title:
- Arguably the most notorious is simply called The Butcher, a boss found in the Highmaul raid. A brute of an ogre with a cleaver and meat tenderizer, he even gloats, "Looks like meat'sback on the menu boys!" after killing a foe.
- The insane Hannval the Butcher in Stormhelm a cleaver and meathook wielding vykrul who even says "Aah, fresh meat!" when pulled. This, of course, was a deliberate shout out to the guy in Diablo.
- There's a boss in Scholomance nicknamed "The Butcher," his real name is Theolen Krastinov. You know when a doctor is referred to by this title, he's absolutely not a nice guy.
- Bai-Jin the Butcher is a rare Elite Mob in Pandara, an axe-wielding Shiang Tien in plate armor.
- Another vrykul with this title, the gladiator Vladof in Zul'Drak, who charges into the Ampitheater of Anguish mounted on a mammoth.
- One of the worst is High General Rakeesh, the villain of the Battle of Exodar. His name means "butcher" in Erudun. This clearly isn't his original name, as he is actually Prophet Velen's son, who was kidnapped and converted by the Demonic Inquisition ages ago as part of a long-range plot.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar's The 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. He came to a rather horrid end...
- 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.
- Commander Shepard of Mass Effect - with the Ruthless background - has the nickname "Butcher of Torfan" from participating in a military of the Batarian criminal base Torfan, in which Shepard pursued and killed even surrendering enemies, the pursuit heedlessly causing the deaths of 3/4ths of his/her's own unit.
- 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 a 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.
- 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 Imperium Nova's Gemini galaxy, Patrice Rey Barte, the Butcher of Dnoces.
- In Red Dawn Plus 20, General Sergei Khvostov is dubbed "The Butcher of Clear Lake City," for massacring said town's population in retaliation for NASA managing to evacuate all of Johnson Space Center's personnel, documentation, technology and materiel before Houston fell to the Soviet invasion. That's just one of his offenses.
- 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.
- This guy in Questionable Content.
- 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...
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, of course.) 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' reputation is not totally 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. Of course, 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 Badass-ery.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- In Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos, Colonel Fedmahn Kassad is known as "The Butcher of South Bressia." This is a backhanded compliment acknowledging that Kassad, something of an "ultimate soldier" figure, accomplished a military feat thought to be impossible—but that he had to stack the bodies of both his own forces and the enemy to the ceiling in order to do it.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- One of the villains in Word Girl is called simply "The Butcher". He's an actual butcher whose superpower is control over meat.
- An an episode of 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.
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.
- He wears a Hannibal Lecter mask and his primary skill is sharpening his cleavers to 'motivate' your men. It's that kind of game.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, you get the "Butcher of Ember" feat after being framed for massacring an entire 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 just about "everyone").
- In RedAlert2 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 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".
- 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.
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.
- "The Butcher of Riga"- Edward Roschmann, Nazi War Criminal, antagonist of The Odessa File.
- "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. It should be noted that 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
- Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Travers Harris, commander of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command during World War Two, 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.
- 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.
- The late Slobodan Milosevic was 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A high Nazi official, Baron Otto von Bolschwing, was also called "The Butcher of Bucharest".
- 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 Jerkass with a vastly inflated ego didn't endear him to anyone...)
- Arguably that was something of a slander. Grant tended to prefer cleverness to exchanging casualties (John Keegan credits him with mastering the tricky cartography of the Western Theater). What was different in the East was that Lee was able to predict his moves and parry him, often in tough country. The nickname came about more because of the natural results of two talented generals meeting (Waterloo was something of a headbutt too, not least because both Bonaparte and Wellington were geniuses). It also came about because Grant did not pull back at the sign of resistance. And not only did Lee have to be defeated or at least pinned, but the up and coming election might decide the war and a sign of victory was desperately needed. In any even Grant had no particular predisposition toward We Have Reserves over actual generalship.
- 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".
- The exact details vary, but 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 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, though opinion is divided as to Israel's culpability. 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.
- Black Lagoon has an interesting twist with "Sawyer the Cleaner". She "cleans" up bodies with a chainsaw, and
sometimesmost of the time it seems like those bodies are still alive.
- Samurai Champloo has the Clueless Detective Manzo the Saw who isn't particularly violent or competent. 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.
- Sig Curtis from Fullmetal Alchemist is a butcher, but isn't particularly violent. Don't provoke him, though. It's for your own good.
- 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?"
- Twisted in Iain M Banks' 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: 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.
- 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?"
- 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.
- 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 viscious, 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, are also known as "butcher birds."
- 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.
- The PBS superhero Word Girl 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.
- In-story, Kota Banu was a Catholic mission school where the terrorists murdered two nuns and thirteen young female students.