from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an executioner
  • n. a butcher

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The public executioner at Rome, who executed persons of the lowest rank; hence, an executioner or hangman.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A public executioner; a hangman; hence, as a term of abuse, a wretch.
  • n. [capitalized] In ornithology: A genus of hawks: same as Micrastur. Lesson, 1842. [Not in use.] A genus of birds: same as Phænicercus.


From Latin carnifex ("butcher") (Wiktionary)


  • “No,” he said curtly, nodding to the carnifex, “you die a traitor.”


  • The miserable prisoners, yoked at the neck, their faces burned red by this sudden exposure to the sun after years of darkness, were led up one by one to the carnifex, who took them down into the Carcer and strangled them—thankfully out of sight, but still I could see that Cicero was keeping his face averted and talking fixedly to Hybrida.


  • There they were made to wait beneath the gaze of the carnifex and his assistants, trembling at the thought of their fate, while the distant roars from the direction of the Triumphal Gate signaled that at last their conqueror had entered the city.


  • The lictor went off to make sure that the carnifex and his assistants would be standing by.


  • After what seemed an eternity the carnifex called up that the job was done and Cicero went reluctantly to the hole and peered down.


  • As my eyes adjusted to the gloom I recognized Catulus, Piso, Torquatus, and Lepidus, with the folds of their togas pressed to their noses, and also the short and broad figure of the state executioner, the carnifex, in his leather apron, attended by half a dozen assistants.


  • We passed the porters with their handcarts waiting for work just beyond the gate, and the squat official residence of the carnifex, who, as public executioner, was forbidden to live within the precincts of the city.


  • By the signs I expected them both to live, and I had what was needed to hand, in bark and roots gathered the night before, and herbs the old carnifex gave me, dried vervain and wormwood and seeds of parsley.


  • The carnifex of their clan was a vigorous old mudman who welcomed my arrival.


  • Right now it looks like Severian is on his way to get a job in Thrax (a city far away from Nessus) as it's carnifex (executioner).

    Shadow & Claw (1980, 1981) 410 pages by Gene Wolfe


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