gibbet

[jib-it]

noun

a gallows with a projecting arm at the top, from which the bodies of criminals were formerly hung in chains and left suspended after execution.

verb (used with object), gib·bet·ed, gib·bet·ing.

to hang on a gibbet.
to put to death by hanging on a gibbet.
to hold up to public scorn.

Origin of gibbet

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French gibet (earlier, staff or cudgel), diminutive of gibe staff, club
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gibbet

Historical Examples of gibbet

  • Long ago the cliff with its gibbet has been washed away by the sea.

    Bygone Punishments

    William Andrews

  • The gibbet remained for three years, and was then blown down in a gale.

    Bygone Punishments

    William Andrews

  • The body of Peare was not permitted to remain long on the gibbet.

    Bygone Punishments

    William Andrews

  • The gibbet was standing until the year 1850, when it was blown down.

    Bygone Punishments

    William Andrews

  • I avoided the gibbet which, however, should not have dishonored me as I should only have been hung.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt



British Dictionary definitions for gibbet

gibbet

noun

  1. a wooden structure resembling a gallows, from which the bodies of executed criminals were formerly hung to public view
  2. a gallows

verb (tr)

to put to death by hanging on a gibbet
to hang (a corpse) on a gibbet
to expose to public ridicule

Word Origin for gibbet

C13: from Old French gibet gallows, literally: little cudgel, from gibe cudgel; of uncertain 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 gibbet
n.

early 13c., "gallows," from Old French gibet "gallows; a bent stick," diminutive of gibe "club," perhaps from Frankish *gibb "forked stick." The verb meaning "to kill by hanging" is from 1590s. Related: Gibbeted; gibbeting. "Originally synonymous with GALLOWS sb., but in later use signifying an upright post with projecting arm from which the bodies of criminals were hung in chains or irons after execution" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper