[ dee-fen-uh-strey-shuh n ]
/ diˌfɛn əˈstreɪ ʃən /


the act of throwing a thing or especially a person out of a window: the defenestration of the commissioners at Prague.

Nearby words

  1. defendant,
  2. defender,
  3. defender of the bond,
  4. defender of the faith,
  5. defenestrate,
  6. defense,
  7. defense mechanism,
  8. defenseless,
  9. defenseman,
  10. defensible

Origin of defenestration

1610–20; de- + Latin fenestr(a) window + -ation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for defenestration

British Dictionary definitions for defenestration


/ (diːˌfɛnɪˈstreɪʃən) /


the act of throwing someone out of a window

Word Origin for defenestration

C17: from New Latin dēfenestrātiō, from Latin de- + fenestra window

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 defenestration



1620, "the action of throwing out of a window," from Latin fenestra "window" (see fenestration). A word invented for one incident: the "Defenestration of Prague," May 21, 1618, when two Catholic deputies to the Bohemian national assembly and a secretary were tossed out the window (into a moat) of the castle of Hradshin by Protestant radicals. It marked the start of the Thirty Years War. Some linguists link fenestra with Greek verb phainein "to show;" others see in it an Etruscan borrowing, based on the suffix -(s)tra, as in Latin loan-words aplustre "the carved stern of a ship with its ornaments," genista "the plant broom," lanista "trainer of gladiators." Related: Defenestrate (1915); defenestrated (1620).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper