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From Middle English gibet, from Old French gibet (French gibet), either from Frankish *gibb (forked stick) or from Latin gibbus (hunchbacked).[1]



gibbet (plural gibbets)

  1. An upright post with a crosspiece used for execution and subsequent public display.
    Synonym: gallows
    • 1702, [Daniel Defoe], “Part I”, in Reformation of Manners, a Satyr, [London: s.n.], OCLC 519092455, page 22:
      Thy Friends without the help of Prophecie, / Read Goals[sic – meaning Gaols] and Gibbets in thy Deſtiny; []
    • 1728, “The Atheist, or, the Second Part of the Soldier’s Fortune”, in The Works of Mr. Thomas Otway, volume II, London, page 37:
      No, had every Commandment but a Gibbet belonging to it, I ſhould not have had four King's Evidences to-day ſwear impudently I was a Papiſt, when I was never at Maſs yet ſince I was born, nor indeed at any other Worſhip theſe twenty Years.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], Francesca Carrara. [], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), OCLC 630079698, page 241-242:
      Why, your cavalier is a rebel—an exile, whose property is confiscated, and for whose neck the gibbet stands prepared!
  2. The projecting arm of a crane, from which the load is suspended; the jib.
  3. A human-shaped structure made of iron bands designed to publicly display the corpse of an executed criminal.



gibbet (third-person singular simple present gibbets, present participle gibbeting or gibbetting, simple past and past participle gibbeted or gibbetted)

  1. (transitive) To execute (someone), or display (a body), on a gibbet.
  2. (transitive) To expose (someone) to ridicule or scorn.



  1. ^ Le Robert pour tous, Dictionnaire de la langue française, Janvier 2004, p. 520

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of gibet