American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A two-wheeled cart, especially a farmer's cart that can be tilted to dump a load.
- n. A crude cart used to carry condemned prisoners to their place of execution, as during the French Revolution.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A low cart used by farmers for the removal of dung, etc.; a dung-cart. The body of the cart was a separate box, sometimes called a which (see
which), in which the dung or other load was placed, to be dumped by upsetting the box. The name is often given to the carts used to convey the victims of the French Revolution to the guillotine, but contemporary plates represent these as large four-wheeled wagons.
- n. A covered cart with two wheels, which accompanies artillery, for the conveyance of tools, ammunition, etc.
- n. A chair fixed on a pair of wheels and having very long shafts used to punish scolds. On its being wheeled into a pond backward, and suddenly tilted up, the woman was plunged into the water. Compare
- n. A sort of circular cage or crib, made of osiers or twigs, used in some parts of England for holding food for sheep in winter.
- n. Alternative form of tumbril.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A cucking stool for the punishment of scolds.
- n. A rough cart.
- n. (Mil.) A cart or carriage with two wheels, which accompanies troops or artillery, to convey the tools of pioneers, cartridges, and the like.
- n. engraving A kind of basket or cage of osiers, willows, or the like, to hold hay and other food for sheep.
- n. a farm dumpcart for carrying dung; carts of this type were used to carry prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution
- Middle English tumberell, from Old French tomberel, from tomber, to let fall, perhaps of Germanic origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“a two-wheeled tumbrel: According to the OED, a tumbrel is a cart constructed so that the body tilts backwards to empty out the load, such as a dung-cart.”
“I think a tumbrel remark is either one you make in a tumbrel on your way to the guillotine cause a tumbrel is the wagon that carried French aristocrats to the chopping block or it's the type of remark that could lead to people wanting to put you in a tumbrel, as in "let them eat cake.”
“He was removed from the magistracy after having, in 1800, jumped into the tumbrel taking Sarah Lloyd, a servant girl, to the scaffold, and harangued the crowd about the injustice of the sentence.”
“There was the whiff of a tumbrel depositing yet another victim before the guillotine in the Place de la Concorde.”
“Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, seventy-eight and an invalid, having been thrown roughly to the pavement from the tumbrel, was heard to speak words of forgiveness and encouragement to her tormentor.”
“Spelling has been guillotined by tabloids and others for a tumbrel of offenses — her nose job, her feud with her mother, her breast-augmentation surgery, her acting on Beverly Hills, 90210, her appearances with her husband on the reality show Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.”
“The doyen of modern Dickens studies, Michael Slater, envisaged him in "Charles Dickens" 2009 as the kind of writer whose every private experience is hitched to the lurching tumbrel of his creative imagination.”
“Next to be hauled out of the tumbrel and up to the guillotine: Kendra Chantelle, Ashthon Jones, and Karen Rodriguez.”
“Take, for instance, the following piece of purple prose, full of sentences just begging to hop into the tumbrel and ride to the guillotine.”
“But they pulled them out of the tumbrel, shoved them beneath the guillotine, and . . . it was over.”
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