Definition of oubliette in US English:



  • A secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor in its ceiling.

    • ‘For a few hours, it meant an oubliette from whatever reality it is that everyone wanted me to face.’
    • ‘A high-ceilinged corridor ran between the oubliettes and the suite.’
    • ‘Her suite of rooms are still intact and can be visited, as can the place for the prisoners of humbler origins: the dungeon, and below it the grim oubliette.’
    • ‘It was an oubliette for material that the owner of the business had been unable to sell to collectors or historians.’
    • ‘Bring back the lash, and thumbscrews and the oubliette.’
    • ‘Soon afterwards, the heir to the non-existent throne, who was eight, was taken away from his imprisoned mother, aunt and sister and held separately, at first in the room that had been his father's, and then in a secure cell, an oubliette.’
    • ‘Could it be one of those hallucination oubliettes?’
    • ‘As he stood draped in a flat black cloak and tunic of stitched faces, the old warrior's voice echoed off the inner walls of the ancient oubliette.’
    • ‘Even the brightest Moonlight induces pallor in each face it illuminates, and creates shadows like oubliettes, where all who enter disappear.’
    • ‘I'm trapped in an oubliette, that's what this is, an oubliette for the mentally unstable.’
    • ‘The earth opened up and I plunged into an oubliette with him cackling from above.’
    • ‘That's why we have to have them - a societal oubliette.’
    • ‘Prison is no longer society's oubliette but a mirror in which it constantly checks its state of health.’
    • ‘Perhaps I should have shifted him completely in the oubliette.’
    • ‘And while she rescued her drugged Eurydice, her laughter echoed up and down throughout the oubliettes, bouncing back under the high ceiling and between the narrow walls.’
    • ‘It was rescued from the oubliette by the senior editor in charge of the book section and passed to the managing editor, who was looking for a permanent art critic.’
    • ‘But the oubliette alone will let you think while dying.’
    • ‘How do we stop from sliding down the slippery slope till we reach the oubliette where lurk the rack, the branding-iron, and the thumbscrew?’
    • ‘They are like the French medieval penalty of the oubliette, where a man was put in a hole in the ground with bars over the top and forgotten.’
    • ‘Unless he was in an oubliette, the pirates would undoubtedly come for him, and that, surprisingly enough, was a bit of something to hope for.’
    dungeon, lock-up, prison
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: from French, from oublier ‘forget’.