- a person who deserves to be hanged.
Origin of gallows bird
First recorded in 1775–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for gallows bird
"And you would be a highwayman, would you, gallows-bird—" began the Countess.
But here you are looking like a gallows-bird of the greatest claim for the rope.
Sometimes her mother abused me for it: 'You're a scoundrel, a gallows-bird!'The House of the Dead or Prison Life in Siberia
Do you think you can teach an old constable how to know a gallows-bird?The Works of Honor de Balzac
Honor de Balzac
I know that far, though I ne'er minced ape nor gallows-bird.The Cloister and the Hearth
- informal a person considered deserving of hanging
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