burn at the stake
Execute someone by tying to a stake and burning; also, punish severely. This expression refers to a method used in the Middle Ages for putting heretics to death, but now it is used as a hyperbolic metaphor for harsh punishment, as in She was sure she'd be burned at the stake for losing the contract. In fact, the stake can be used loosely for any extreme punishment. William Makepeace Thackeray so used it in Henry Esmond (1852): “'I know I would go to the stake for you,' said Harry.”
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How to use burn at the stake in a sentence
France 24 is providing live, round-the-clock coverage of both scenes as they progress.
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The Dallas Cowboys sell out their state-of-the art football stadium.
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Truth is a torch, but one of enormous size; so that we slink past it in rather a blinking fashion for fear it should burn us.Pearls of Thought|Maturin M. Ballou
On the thirteenth of the same month they bound to the stake, in order to burn alive, a man who had two religious in his house.
Sleek finds it far harder work than fortune-making; but he pursues his Will-o'-the-Wisp with untiring energy.
He couldn't sell them; he couldn't burn them; he was even compelled to insure them, to his intense disgust.
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