[ gil-uh-teen, gee-uh-; especially for verb gil-uh-teen, gee-uh- ]
/ 藞g瑟l 蓹藢tin, 藞gi 蓹-; especially for verb 藢g瑟l 蓹藞tin, 藢gi 蓹- /
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a device for beheading a person by means of a heavy blade that is dropped between two posts serving as guides: widely used during the French Revolution.
an instrument for surgically removing the tonsils.
any of various machines in which a vertical blade between two parallel uprights descends to cut or trim metal, stacks of paper, etc.
verb (used with object), guil路lo路tined, guil路lo路tin路ing.
to behead by the guillotine.
to cut with or as if with a guillotine.
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Origin of guillotine

1785鈥95; named after J. I. Guillotin (1738鈥1814), French physician who urged its use


un路guil路lo路tined, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use guillotine in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for guillotine


noun (藞伞瑟l蓹藢ti藧n)
  1. a device for beheading persons, consisting of a weighted blade set between two upright posts
  2. the guillotine execution by this instrument
a device for cutting or trimming sheet material, such as paper or sheet metal, consisting of a blade inclined at a small angle that descends onto the sheet
a surgical instrument for removing tonsils, growths in the throat, etc
Also called: closure by compartment (in Parliament, etc) a form of closure under which a bill is divided into compartments, groups of which must be completely dealt with each day
verb (藢伞瑟l蓹藞ti藧n) (tr)
to behead (a person) by guillotine
(in Parliament, etc) to limit debate on (a bill, motion, etc) by the guillotine

Derived forms of guillotine

guillotiner, noun

Word Origin for guillotine

C18: from French, named after Joseph Ignace Guillotin (1738鈥1814), French physician, who advocated its use in 1789
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for guillotine

[ (gil-uh-teen, gee-uh-teen) ]

A machine designed for beheading people quickly and with minimal pain. The guillotine, which used a large falling knife blade, was devised by a physician, Joseph Guillotin, during the French Revolution and was used as the official method of execution in France until the twentieth century.

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