Lady Terra, it is not all semantics. The key question to ask is "How many witches were executed ?" - and the answer is "Not that many"
Put it down to hysteria and Catholic fanaticism mostly. The highest death toll were Christians who did not follow the edicts of Rome as I have said.
Certainly, there was a huge appetite in the population for someone to blame for all sorts of ills and acts of nature. For example, the Pendle Witches in England. A family was executed on the testimony of the youngest child of the family. An additional complication was that all worldly goods of a convicted witch went to their accuser. Sometimes the accusers were real witches diverting attention towards mentally ill people.
All I am saying about The Burning Times [and executions in general] is be careful. There is much about it that is frankly not true. The people executed were, in the main, devout Christians. In Britain, for example, the Cunning Folk were protected by the general population "because of their value" and were often called White Witches by writers.
Look here http://www.summerlands.com/crossroads/remembrance/burning.htm#5
This needs to be read fully and carefully.
Here is a sample
The Nine Million Martyrs were the invention of Matilda Gage, a 19th century feminist. In her book _Women, Church, and State_, Gage guessed that as many as nine million Witches died. Now, Gage had not studied the Burning Times in detail, nor did she cite any evidence to support her estimate. Moreover, she wrote long before historians had access to reliable information about the death toll. Her number is no more than a rough guess, concocted by a person who had no reliable data to go on. It was far higher than anyone else's estimate, even back in her day when all estimates were incredibly high.
Unfortunately Gage's figure entered modern Witchcraft, by two different routes. Gerald Gardner used it in his Witchcraft museum in the 1950's. Later, feminists rediscovered Gage's book, and her myth spread amongst feminist Witches. Today, you can find many sources which cite this figure. But if you look at them closely, you'll notice something strange: no one ever provides any evidence to back this figure up. That's because there isn't any. There are less than 20,000 executions recorded in Europe. We know we've lost some records, but we're quite sure we haven't lost 8,980,000 of them !