One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1formal, humorous The action of throwing someone out of a window.‘death by defenestration has a venerable history’
expulsion, ejection, ousting, throwing out, drumming out, driving out, banishing, banishment, removal, dislodgement, displacement, clearanceView synonyms
- ‘In France an 1860 shooting and an 1886 defenestration inspired episodes in Emile Zola's railway novel La Bete humaine.’
- ‘The alternative on offer was to jump through a window, which literate readers will know as defenestration, a popular way of inviting kings to commit suicide in 17th century Europe.’
- ‘Folks, it's just not a complete movie without at least one good defenestration.’
- ‘The film is riotous good violent fun, with spectacular explosions, all manner of shootings at close range, garrotting, defenestration and several other creative methods of annihilation.’
- ‘In the Old Town Square the town hall dates back to 1338 and windows all over the city were used for the purpose of throwing political opponents to their deaths, an act known as defenestration.’
- ‘Make it a rule that anyone, interviewer or interviewee, who uses that word will be subject to immediate defenestration.’
2informal The action of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority.‘that victory resulted in Churchill's own defenestration by the war-weary British electorate’
removal, removal from office, removal from power, downfall, fall, collapse, toppling, undoing, deposition, ousting, displacement, supplanting, unseating, subversion, dethronement, disestablishment, dissolutionView synonyms
- ‘The announcement, hurried out after the Stock Exchange had closed, and most of the City had gone home, speaks of a defenestration.’
- ‘The justice minister was, until recently, best known for calling on Iain Duncan Smith to resign as Tory leader in 2003, sparking the crisis that led to the Quiet Man's eventual defenestration.’
- ‘Instead, more than 22 years since her defenestration, Thatcher's brand of neo-liberalism is the unshakeable paradigm for our economy and politics.’
- ‘His defenestration was coldly abrupt, and in his place, the Football Association resurrected a veteran manager and former England star for seven games.’
- ‘What, we wonder, does he make of a flurry of recent articles calling for his defenestration?’
- ‘Several other revelations have begun to seep out in the wake of O'Brien's forced defenestration.’
- ‘This is never fun, even for fans that have spent months clamoring for the defenestration of some coach or GM or other.’
Early 17th century: from modern Latin defenestratio(n-), from de- ‘down from’ + Latin fenestra ‘window’.
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