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See more synonyms for gibbet on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
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verb (used with object), gib·bet·ed, gib·bet·ing.
  1. to hang on a gibbet.
  2. to put to death by hanging on a gibbet.
  3. to hold up to public scorn.
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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. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for gibbeting

Historical Examples

  • It was not until 1752 that gibbeting was recognized by statute.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12, Slice 8


  • This Act made matters clear, and was the means of gibbeting rapidly increasing in this country.

    Bygone Punishments

    William Andrews

  • Lincolnshire history supplies some curious details respecting the gibbeting of a man named Tom Otter, in the year 1806.

    Bygone Punishments

    William Andrews

  • To Kleinwort there was a certain humour in the idea of first gibbeting a man as a rogue, and then treating him as a simpleton.

    Mortomley's Estate, Vol. II (of 3)

    Charlotte Elizabeth Lawson Cowan Riddell

  • As for the members of the other societies, he was for gibbeting their principles only.

British Dictionary definitions for gibbeting


    1. a wooden structure resembling a gallows, from which the bodies of executed criminals were formerly hung to public view
    2. a gallows
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verb (tr)
  1. to put to death by hanging on a gibbet
  2. to hang (a corpse) on a gibbet
  3. to expose to public ridicule
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Word Origin

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 gibbeting



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].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper