show trial


Definition of show trial

: 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

In March 2016, Warmbier was convicted in a show trial of crimes against the state and sentenced to 15 years at hard labor. Sarah Brookbank,, "Otto Warmbier trends on Twitter as users aghast at Trump photo-op in North Korea," 30 June 2019 The show trial digs into the accident's cause from the cultural center of the still-dangerously radioactive town of Chernobyl. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Chernobyl' recap: Final, horrifying episode features the radioactive political fallout," 26 Apr. 2018 The purges and show trials were depicted as efforts to rid the country of German agents. Winston Groom, WSJ, "Unsavory Allies, From Stalin to the Saudis," 4 Dec. 2018 That has led to lengthy unexplained disappearances that often end in show trials. Eva Dou, WSJ, "Interpol’s Chinese President Reported Missing in China," 5 Oct. 2018 Are these gonna be any better or are these just show trials, essentially, that lead to nothing? Eric Johnson, Recode, "There should be ‘consequences’ for platforms that don’t remove people like Alex Jones, Senator Ron Wyden says," 22 Aug. 2018 Get our daily newsletter Your immediate nightmare is the flotation process, which is a cross between an election campaign, a show trial and an Ironman event. The Economist, "Life as you know it is IPOver," 12 July 2018 He was charged and convicted in a show trial of stealing a poster from a hotel. Anne Saker,, "Otto Warmbier's parents: 'Hopefully something good' will come of Trump-Kim summit," 12 June 2018 Several of them have been subjected to show trials and forced to make public confessions to crimes against the state before being sentenced to brutal labor camps., "Mike Pompeo heading to North Korea to meet with Kim Jong Un again," 9 May 2018

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

1928, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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The first known use of show trial was in 1928

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More Definitions for show trial

show trial


English Language Learners Definition of show trial

: a trial in a court of law in which the verdict has been decided in advance

More from Merriam-Webster on show trial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with show trial

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to complain fretfully

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