guillotine

noun
guil·​lo·​tine | \ ˈgi-lə-ˌtēn How to pronounce guillotine (audio) ; ˌgē-(y)ə-ˈtēn, ˈgē-(y)ə-ˌtēn How to pronounce guillotine (audio) \

Definition of guillotine

1 : a machine for beheading by means of a heavy blade that slides down in vertical guides
2 : a shearing machine or instrument (such as a paper cutter) that in action resembles a guillotine The paper was trimmed on a guillotine.
3 chiefly British : closure by the imposition of a predetermined time limit on the consideration of specific sections of a bill or portions of other legislative business

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Other Words from guillotine

guillotine transitive verb

Examples of guillotine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But that all comes to a head when the ball star walks in the French Revolution category in a truly stunning Marie Antoinette getup, complete with cakes, a carousel hoop-skirt and a guillotine. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Revolutions, Runways & Revenge: 5 Key Moments from the Season 2 Premiere of 'Pose'," 12 June 2019 Ivanov pulls Tuivasa down late and looks for a guillotine choke before the round ends. Todd Martin, latimes.com, "UFC 238 live updates: Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes," 8 June 2019 One of the victims was Adam Lux, his friend and fellow delegate from Mainz, who had fallen in love with Marat’s murderer, Charlotte Corday, as she was being dragged to the guillotine. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Georg Forster’ Review: In Search of Earthly Paradise," 22 Feb. 2019 Éponine from Les Misérables Éponine, French friend-zone icon, makes pining after hot student Marius look as easy as beheading someone with a guillotine. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Single This Halloween? 11 Costumes Guaranteed to Make You Stand Out From the Crowd," 12 Oct. 2018 The rear door of the aircraft opens and, when the green light appears, the loadmaster slices the one restraining strap with a guillotine knife. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The C-130J Super Hercules Is Ready for the Worst," 9 Oct. 2018 Place de la Concorde Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in Paris, originally created in honor of Louis IV but probably best known for being the spot of the French Revolution's guillotine executions, including his successor Louis XVI. Melissa Liebling-goldberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "19 Best Paris Walking Tours," 3 Mar. 2018 Another head on the guillotine belongs to John Kelly protégé Kirstjen Nielsen, the Homeland Security chief, who was heavily rumored to get the sack this week but as of this writing is still hanging by a thread. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “The Whole Thing Is a Hoax!”," 18 Nov. 2018 The photos, posted by people who lament the death of Chicago’s tangible past, flit through my social media feed like a parade of the condemned en route to the guillotine. Mary Schmich, chicagotribune.com, "Awful! Sad! No More! Stop demolishing Chicago's beautiful old homes," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guillotine.' 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 guillotine

1790, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for guillotine

French, from Joseph Guillotin †1814 French physician

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Statistics for guillotine

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guillotine

The first known use of guillotine was in 1790

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More Definitions for guillotine

guillotine

noun

English Language Learners Definition of guillotine

: a machine with a heavy blade that was used in the past to cut off the heads of people who had been sentenced to death

guillotine

noun
guil·​lo·​tine | \ ˈgi-lə-ˌtēn How to pronounce guillotine (audio) \

Kids Definition of guillotine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a machine for cutting off a person's head with a heavy blade that slides down two grooved posts

guillotine

verb
guillotined; guillotining

Kids Definition of guillotine (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut off a person's head with a guillotine

guillotine

noun
guil·​lo·​tine | \ ˈgil-ə-ˌtēn How to pronounce guillotine (audio) , ˈgē-ə-ˌtēn How to pronounce guillotine (audio) \

Medical Definition of guillotine

: a surgical instrument that consists of a ring and handle with a knife blade which slides down the handle and across the ring and that is used for cutting out a protruding structure (as a tonsil) capable of being placed in the ring

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Comments on guillotine

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