Black Hole of Calcutta


noun

a small dungeon in which in 1756 the Nawab of Bengal reputedly confined 146 English prisoners, of whom only 23 survived
informal, mainly British any uncomfortable or overcrowded place

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Cultural definitions for Black Hole of Calcutta

Black Hole of Calcutta

A cell in the jail of a British fort in Calcutta, India. In the middle of the eighteenth century, British and Indian troops clashed at the fort. The Indian troops drove a reported 146 defenders of the fort into the cell, which measured about fifteen by eighteen feet. Many had suffocated by the next morning.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.