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in the dock

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On trial, especially in a criminal case. For example, The accused stood in the dock through the entire proceeding. This expression employs dock in the sense of “an enclosed place for the defendant in a court of law,” a usage dating from the late 1500s, and is used even in American courts where no such enclosure exists.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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