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 defenestrate (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 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 Adam Neumann, WeWork Perhaps more than any CEO departure, the defenestration of Adam Neumann stands as a stark cautionary tale. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "5 CEO Exits That Sum Up the Memorable Business Year That was 2019," 19 Dec. 2019 The latest case is that of We Co.’s Adam Neumann, but a few other recent defenestrations support the point. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Does the WeWork meltdown show we’re in the twilight of the big shot CEO?," 26 Sep. 2019 But by then, even key members of the elder Trump’s offensive line on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees were backing way off the defenestration of Rosenstein. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Moral anchors aweigh on Kavanaugh, Rosenstein," 24 Sep. 2018 Fresh off its Pruitt defenestration, the left will be looking for new targets, so some advice to the rest of the Trump cabinet: Fly coach. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Pruitt Drowns in the Swamp," 5 July 2018 These are people that will strongly resist any defenestration of the heir apparent. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Actually, Pence’s Toadying Is His Best Shot at Becoming President," 17 May 2018

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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Cite this Entry

“Defenestration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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