One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An execution carried out by drowning.
capital punishment, the death penalty, being put to death, killingView synonyms
- ‘Perhaps 1,800 perished altogether in the noyades, and their bodies were washed up on the tidal banks of the Loire for weeks afterwards.’
- ‘Although absent from the novel's descriptive chain of images, the noyade makes itself known to the reader by scattered traces throughout the text.’
Early 19th century (referring especially to a mass execution by drowning, carried out in France in 1794): from French, literally ‘drowning’, from the verb noyer, from Latin necare ‘kill without use of a weapon’, later ‘drown’.
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