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 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 Expect defenestration, helicopter crashes, and exploding motorbikes. Vogue, "A List of Every Single Movie That You Need to Know About Coming Out in Summer 2018," 22 May 2018 Still, several investors complained about the manner of Mr Cryan’s defenestration, which could make for a turbulent annual shareholders’ meeting next month. The Economist, "Business this week," 12 Apr. 2018 McCabe’s testimony will not be altered by his sudden defenestration at the FBI. Andrew Cohen, Esquire, "What Happens Now That McCabe Is Fired? Consider These Five Things.," 19 Mar. 2018 Donald Trump sacked Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, announcing the defenestration on Twitter. The Economist, "Politics this week," 15 Mar. 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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Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Defenestration.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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