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 Options included prison, gas chamber, live burial, guillotine, and machine-gun execution. Paul Mozur, New York Times, "In Hong Kong Protests, Faces Become Weapons," 26 July 2019 But before the infamous Reign of Terror launched a series of beheadings by guillotine, high taxes and a summer of famine in 1789 lead French citizens to storm the castle of Bastille, a military fortress and prison. Ryan Prior And Erin Davis, CNN, "Bastille Day inspired centuries of civil disobedience in France. Here's why," 13 July 2019 During that time, a different kind of executive was needed, one who could innovate on tight margins and stay just ahead of the guillotine of layoffs and cost-cutting while still finding ways to break and promote artists and records. Dan Rys, Billboard, "In Jamaica With Island Records Founder Chris Blackwell," 12 Sep. 2019 Then Lenin’s 1917 guillotine dropped on the aristocracy like a cleaver on a sturgeon full of caviar. Jim Kempton, Orange County Register, "Follow the French: A look at the French influence on cuisine around the world," 2 Aug. 2019 Meerschaert also won his previous fight, defeating Trevin Giles at 1:49 of the third round by technical submission via a guillotine choke on Aug. 3 in Newark, New Jersey. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Opponent, date set for Eryk Anders’ next UFC bout," 20 Aug. 2019 In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution, was sent to the guillotine. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 28 July 2019 Jean-Claude and his men take hold of one another’s forearms to raise their voices together, lifting and darting like birds, then diving in a sudden decrescendo that ends the song by guillotine. National Geographic, "In Corsica, on a quest for beautiful harmony," 24 July 2019 In this way Maigret is able to justify putting them in prison or sending them to the guillotine. Vince Passaro, Harper's magazine, "Maigret All Day," 22 July 2019

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

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for guillotine

The first known use of guillotine was in 1790

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More Definitions for guillotine

guillotine

noun
How to pronounce guillotine (audio) How to pronounce guillotine (audio)

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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