gallows


gallows

noun, plural gal·lows·es, gal·lows.

  1. a wooden frame, consisting of a crossbeam on two uprights, on which condemned persons are executed by hanging.
  2. a similar structure from which something is suspended.
  3. execution by hanging: a crime deserving of the gallows.
  4. Also called gallows bitts. Nautical. a support on the deck of a vessel, generally one of two or more, consisting of a crosspiece on two uprights, for spars, boats, etc.

noun plural -lowses or -lows

  1. a wooden structure usually consisting of two upright posts with a crossbeam from which a rope is suspended, used for hanging criminals
  2. any timber structure resembling this, such as (in Australia and New Zealand) a frame for hoisting up the bodies of slaughtered cattle
  3. the gallows execution by hanging
n.

c.1300, plural of Middle English galwe “gallows” (mid-13c.), from Old Norse galgi “gallows,” or from Old English galga (Mercian), gealga (West Saxon) “gallows;” all from Proto-Germanic *galgon- “pole” (cf. Old Frisian galga, Middle High German galge “gallows, cross,” German Galgen “gallows,” Gothic galga “cross”), from PIE *ghalgh- “branch, rod” (cf. Lithuanian zalga “pole, perch,” Armenian dzalk “pole”). In Old English, also used of the cross of the crucifixion. Plural because made of two poles.

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