show trial

noun

: a trial (as of political opponents) in which the verdict is rigged and a public confession is often extracted

Examples of show trial in a Sentence

They were forced to confess their guilt in public show trials.
Recent Examples on the Web He was then sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on embezzlement and contempt charges in what international observers dubbed a show trial. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 20 Feb. 2024 Not even the coming Red Terror, the labor camps, the show trials, and Siberian exiles could curb Edmund Wilson’s infatuation with Lenin. Elizabeth Powers, National Review, 21 Dec. 2023 The Foreign Office didn’t want him, but journalism did: Shakespeare’s account of the Stalinist show trial of six British engineers, which Fleming covered in Moscow in 1933 for Reuters, is riveting. James Parker, The Atlantic, 12 Feb. 2024 Russia charged a theater director and a playwright with allegations of justifying terrorism, echoing a show trial for the Master that the film’s creators added to the script. Paul Sonne, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 The case drew comparisons to a Stalin-era show trial. Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 16 Feb. 2024 Madeleine’s role in The Bitter Tears of Marie Antoinette, filmed at a guillotine, suggests how corporate media’s travesty of J6 show trials on network TV put us through a modern version of the French Revolution’s Jacobin Terror. Armond White, National Review, 26 Jan. 2024 On Monday, the show trial of Jimmy Lai, the 76-year-old Hong Kong pro-democracy icon and former newspaper owner, kicked off. The Editors, National Review, 19 Dec. 2023 Regardless, the best way to demonstrate that something is not a show trial is to show the trial. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 26 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'show trial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of show trial was in 1928

Dictionary Entries Near show trial

Cite this Entry

“Show trial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/show%20trial. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!