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

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 When the poet Heberto Padilla was subjected to a Stalinist show trial, Vargas Llosa gathered several friends at his home in Barcelona to draft a public denunciation of Castro. Marcela Valdes, New York Times, "The Elder Statesman of Latin American Literature — and a Writer of Our Moment," 20 Feb. 2018 Just a year later, Pravda took an active role in whipping up the hysteria that led to the show trials of the Great Purge. Will Englund, Washington Post, "Why Trump’s ‘enemy of the people’ bluster can’t be compared to Stalin’s savage rule," 17 Jan. 2018 This now-common fait accompli, where judges demand access to internal deliberative documents, and when rebuffed rule against the president anyway, evinces the feeling of a show trial. Josh Blackman, National Review, "A Ludicrous Ruling That Trump Can’t End DACA," 10 Jan. 2018 Stalin needed scapegoats, and his show trials provided them. The Economist, "The legacy of the Russian revolution can still be felt today," 20 Dec. 2017 Some victims were convicted in dramatic show trials. Mark Atwood Lawrence, New York Times, "A Portrait of Stalin in All His Murderous Contradictions," 19 Oct. 2017

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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The first known use of show trial was in 1928

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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

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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