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This page has 7 definitions of gallows in English. Gallows is a noun and verb. Also define these 11 related words and terms: framework, hanging, wretch, printing, rest, tympan, suspenders, braces, crossbeam, beam engine, and gallow.

See also: Gallows



Etymology 1

From Middle English galwes, galewes, galowe, galwe, from Old English ġealga, from Proto-Germanic *galgô, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰalgʰ-, *ǵʰalg- (long switch, rod, shaft, pole, perch). Compare West Frisian galge, Dutch galg, German Galgen, Danish galge, Icelandic gálgi.


gallows (plural gallows or gallowses)

  1. Wooden framework on which persons are put to death by hanging. [from 1300s]
    • 1728, Otway, Thomas, “The Atheist, or, the Second Part of the Solider's Fortune”, in The Works of Mr. Thomas Otway, volume 2, London, page 37:
      No, Sir, 'tis fear of Hanging. Who would not ſteal, or do Murder, every time his Fingers itch'd at it, were it not for fear of the Gallows?
  2. (colloquial, obsolete) A wretch who deserves to be hanged.
  3. (printing, obsolete) The rest for the tympan when raised.
  4. (colloquial, obsolete) Suspenders; braces.
    • Suspenders definition
      A pair of straps crossing one's shoulders and extending down to one's trousers, where a clip or button arrangement allows them to affix to the trousers, ensuring that they will not fall off. Braces. (1 of 2 suspenders definitions)
  5. Any contrivance with posts and crossbeam for suspending objects.
    • 1971, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather (screenplay, third draft)
      Lit by the moonlight through the window, he can see a FIGURE in the hospital bed alone in the room, and under a transparent oxygen tent. [] Tubes hang from a steel gallows beside the bed, and run to his nose and mouth.
  6. The main frame of a beam engine.
Derived terms

Etymology 2



  1. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of gallow