de·​fen·​es·​tra·​tion | \ (ˌ)dē-ˌfe-nə-ˈstrā-shən How to pronounce defenestration (audio) \

Definition of defenestration

1 : a throwing of a person or thing out of a window assassination by defenestration
2 : a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office) the defenestration of political leaders the mass defenestration of middle management— Jane Bryant Quinn

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Other Words from defenestration

defenestrate \ (ˌ)dē-​ˈfe-​nə-​ˌstrāt How to pronounce defenestration (audio) \ transitive verb

Did You Know?

These days defenestration is often used to describe the forceful removal of someone from public office or from some other advantageous position. History’s most famous defenestration, however, was one in which the tossing out the window was quite literal. On May 23, 1618, two imperial regents were found guilty of violating certain guarantees of religious freedom. As punishment, they were thrown out the window of Prague Castle. The men survived the 50-foot tumble into the moat, but the incident, which became known as the Defenestration of Prague, marked the beginning of the Bohemian resistance to Hapsburg rule that eventually led to the Thirty Years' War.

Examples of defenestration in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The last time Fatah lost an election, the opposition celebrated with mass defenestration. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Senator Warren’s Disgraceful Meddling in Israeli Politics," 20 Apr. 2021 But, in the wake of #MeToo, Time’s Up and Rudin’s defenestration, those narratives are looking increasingly insupportable as generational attitudes shift regarding power, accountability and workplace culture. Washington Post, "Scott Rudin’s bad behavior was just another Hollywood cliche until a new generation said time’s up," 18 Apr. 2021 But the Hashemites are usually disciplined about showing a united front in public: Prince Hassan accepted his defenestration in silence. The Economist, "Uneasy lies the head A feud in Jordan’s royal family," 5 Apr. 2021 But a failure to stem state-level defeats contributed to the defenestration of Mr. Laschet’s predecessor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was Mrs. Merkel’s preferred candidate. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Different Center Holds in Germany," 15 Mar. 2021 Bob Sternfels was selected by the partners at McKinsey as their new global boss, following the defenestration of Kevin Sneader in the leadership ballot. The Economist, "Business this week," 13 Mar. 2021 Bossie, who runs the conservative political group Citizens United, was brought in to look through the troves of data overseen by then-campaign manager Brad Parscale before his defenestration in July. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "David Bossie resurrected to drive Trump campaign data operation," 21 Aug. 2020 But the indulgence of his novella—scenes of blasphemy, defenestration, disaster, augury—is offset by the Latinate solidity of his prose. Dustin Illingworth, The New Yorker, "“Michael Kohlhaas,” the Book That Made the Novel Modern," 20 May 2020 The defenestration of Warren Kanders from the Whitney Museum boardroom was the most astonishing story of the year. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Art Tends for 2020: The Big Apple Is Not So Big in the Art World Anymore," 4 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defenestration.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of defenestration

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defenestration

de- + Latin fenestra window

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The first known use of defenestration was in 1619

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Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defenestration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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