Definition of gallows in English:

gallows

Line breaks: gal|lows
Pronunciation: /ˈgaləʊz
 
/

noun

[usually treated as singular]
  • 1A structure, typically of two uprights and a crosspiece, for the hanging of criminals.
    More example sentences
    • A gallows is a structure used customarily to hang criminals.
    • The second is that an expectant and sceptical mob is starting to gather, with what looks ominously like a gallows and a hanging rope.
    • After that, the SS officers set up gallows and had hangings during each roll call.
    Synonyms
    gibbet, scaffold
    archaic gallow-tree, Gregorian tree, derrick, three-legged mare, nubbing cheat, nub
    archaic , • informal leafless tree, triple tree, Tyburn tree
  • 1.1 (the gallows) Execution by hanging: he was saved from the gallows by a last-minute reprieve
    More example sentences
    • He staked everything on his ability to convince a judge to sentence the pair to life imprisonment and save them from the gallows.
    • It grew from the humane desire of judges to alleviate the severity of the law in an age when many crimes were still classified as felonies, for which the punishment was death by the gallows.
    • If a woman miscarried, went into labor early, or had trouble hiring a midwife, she could be sent to the gallows.
    Synonyms
    hanging, being hanged, the noose, the rope, the gibbet, the scaffold; the death penalty, execution, being executed
    informal the drop, being strung up

Origin

Old English galga, gealga, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch galg and German Galgen; reinforced in Middle English by Old Norse gálgi.

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