A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 882

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 882
n.s. [It is used by some in the singular; but by more only in the plural, or sometimes has another plural gallowses. Galga, Gothick; ᵹalᵹa; Saxon; galge, Dutch; which some derive from gabalus, furca, Latin; others from נבה high; others from gallu, Welsh, power: but it is probably derived like gallow, to fright, from aᵹælƿan, the gallows being the great object of legal terrour.]
  1. A beam laid over two posts, on which malefactors are hanged.

    This monster sat like a hangman upon a pair of gallows: in his right hand he was painted holding a crown of laurel, in his left hand a purse of money. Sidney, b. ii.

    I would we were all of one mind, and one mind good; O, there were desolation of gaolers and gallowses. Shakesp. Cymbel.

    I prophesied, if a gallows were on land,
    This fellow could not drown.
    Shakespeare's Tempest.

    A little before dinner he took the major aside, and whispered him in the ear, that execution must that day be done in the town, and therefore required him that a pair of gallows should be erected. Hayward.

    A production that naturally groweth under gallowses, and places of execution. Brown's Vulgar Errours, b. ii.

    A poor fellow, going to the gallows, may be allowed to feel the smart of wasps while he is upon Tyburn road. Swift.

  2. A wretch that deserves the gallows.

    Cupid hath been five thousand years a boy.
    — Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.

Sources: Browne, Thomas (203) · Shakespeare's Cymbeline (73) · Hayward, John (42) · Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost (33) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Shakespeare's Tempest (50)

Attributes: Dutch (90) · Gothic (10) · Hebrew (11) · Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269) · Saxon (215) · Welsh (Welch) (27)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Gallows." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: December 15, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/gallows/.

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