Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

tumbrel

or tum·bril

[tuhm-bruh l]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. one of the carts used during the French Revolution to convey victims to the guillotine.
  2. a farmer's cart, especially one for hauling manure, that can be tilted to discharge its load.
  3. Obsolete. a two-wheeled covered cart accompanying artillery for carrying tools, ammunition, etc.

Origin of tumbrel

1275–1325; Middle English tumberell ducking stool < Medieval Latin tumberellus < Old French tumberel dump-cart, equivalent to tombe(r) to fall (see tumble) + -rel -rel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tumbril

Historical Examples

  • The second tumbril empties and moves on; the third comes up.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • The tumbril and the guillotine would not have made her weep.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • The bodies of the victims were placed in a tumbril lighted by torches.

  • Up the Canongate comes the rumbling of a tumbril, like the French Revolution.

  • Then she was put into the tumbril, and was started on her way to the scaffold.

    Superwomen

    Albert Payson Terhune


British Dictionary definitions for tumbril

tumbrel

tumbril

noun
  1. 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
  2. (formerly) a covered cart that accompanied artillery in order to carry ammunition, tools, etc
  3. an obsolete word for a ducking stool

Word Origin

C14 tumberell ducking stool, from Medieval Latin tumbrellum from Old French tumberel dump cart, from tomber to tumble, of Germanic origin
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

Word Origin and History for tumbril

tumbrel

n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper