verb (used with object), guil·lo·tined, guil·lo·tin·ing.
Origin of guillotine
Examples from the Web for guillotine
The main approaches to execution since the guillotine have been hanging, the firing squad, and the electric chair.
Wasn't the original name of “The Queen is Dead” “Margaret on the Guillotine”?
There was actually a song called “Margaret on the Guillotine.”
Its heart is in the French Revolution, but so is the guillotine.
From Vampires to the Guillotine: The Dead in European History.
Songs are like the guillotine; they chop away indifferently, to-day this head, to-morrow that.Les Misrables|Victor Hugo
The guillotine is nothing to the bits of quivering flesh he tears out.Ginger-Snaps|Fanny Fern
If you don't accept that you are damned; the Chesterton guillotine has clicked on you.Books and Persons|Arnold Bennett
Was it not always supposed that the guillotine is merciful, because quick in annihilation?Guy Livingstone;|George A. Lawrence
The guillotine spared neither sex who had incurred the suspicions of enthroned democracy.Hortense, Makers of History Series|John S. C. Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for guillotine
- a device for beheading persons, consisting of a weighted blade set between two upright posts
- the guillotine execution by this instrument
verb (ˌɡɪləˈtiːn) (tr)
Word Origin for guillotine
Word Origin and History for guillotine
"The name of the machine in which the axe descends in grooves from a considerable height so that the stroke is certain and the head instantly severed from the body." ["Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure," January 1793], 1791, from French guillotine, named in recognition of French physician Joseph Guillotin (1738-1814), who as deputy to the National Assembly (1789) proposed, for humanitarian and efficiency reasons, that capital punishment be carried out by beheading quickly and cleanly on a machine, which was built in 1791 and first used the next year. The verb is first attested 1794. Related: Guillotined; guillotining.
Medicine definitions for guillotine
Culture definitions for guillotine
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.