- one of the carts used during the French Revolution to convey victims to the guillotine.
- a farmer's cart, especially one for hauling manure, that can be tilted to discharge its load.
- Obsolete. a two-wheeled covered cart accompanying artillery for carrying tools, ammunition, etc.
Origin of tumbrel
Examples from the Web for tumbrel
Millers, when they stole corn, were chastised by the tumbrel.Ten Thousand Wonderful Things
Edmund Fillingham King
Picture to yourself a tumbrel of prisoners on their way to Lons-le-Saulnier.The Companions of Jehu
Alexandre Dumas, pre
Sometimes, when placed on a tumbrel, it was used for ducking.Curious Punishments of Bygone Days
Alice Morse Earle
I only thought of Marie Antoinette after the tumbrel went by.While Caroline Was Growing
Josephine Daskam Bacon
A man condemned to death is listening to his confessor in the tumbrel.Les Misrables
- a farm cart for carrying dung, esp one that tilts backwards to deposit its load. A cart of this type was used to take condemned prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution
- (formerly) a covered cart that accompanied artillery in order to carry ammunition, tools, etc
- an obsolete word for a ducking stool
Word Origin and History for tumbrel
mid-15c., "two-wheeled cart," earlier an instrument of punishment of uncertain type (early 13c.), from Old French tumberel "dump cart," from tomber "(let) fall or tumble," possibly from a Germanic source (cf. Old Norse tumba "to tumble," Old High German tumon "to turn, reel;" see tumble). Notoriously used to take victims to the guillotine during the Reign of Terror.