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drumhead court-martial

a court-martial held, usually on a battlefield, for the summary trial of charges of offenses committed during military operations.
Origin of drumhead court-martial
First recorded in 1825-35; so called from the use of a drumhead as a table during the court-martial Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for drumhead court-martial
Historical Examples
  • "I wonder that you were not shot without any drumhead court-martial," said the Colonel.

    A Desert Drama A. Conan Doyle
  • The drumhead court-martial which followed was brief and formal.

    The Southerner Thomas Dixon
  • The next day Gen. Ward organized a drumhead court-martial and tried those captured who were not wounded.

  • A drumhead court-martial sentenced the young Virginian to receive one hundred lashes on the bare back.

  • We then took six of the leaders, and, holding a drumhead court-martial, sentenced them to be hanged.

  • All the rebel Sepoys and troopers who were captured, were collectively tried by a drumhead court-martial, and hanged.

    From Egypt to Japan Henry M. Field
  • But for British magnanimity a drumhead court-martial should have taken the place of the hospitality of the Ceylon planters.

    The Great Boer War Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Well give him a drumhead court-martial, but it will be the quickest ever held on earth.

    Secret Service

    Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • In the back of his head there formed a little picture—a drumhead court-martial, a provost guard, a tree and a rope.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • Summary procedure made it easy to decide that the sentence of drumhead court-martial was death.

British Dictionary definitions for drumhead court-martial

drumhead court-martial

a military court convened to hear urgent charges of offences committed in action
Word Origin
C19: from the use of a drumhead as a table around which the court-martial was held
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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