from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to frighten

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To fright or terrify. See gally, v. t.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To frighten or terrify.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License




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  • The singular noun occurs in a few fixed phrases like 'gallow-bird' (which the OED has no instances of, but Google Books has) and 'gallow-tree'. But probably these date from the times when 'gallow' could be singular; they're not quite the same process as the singularization in 'scissor blade', 'trouser leg' etc.

    August 12, 2009

  • The O.E.D. lists it only as a verb, actually.

    EDIT: Oh, they have a note about plurality vs. singularity on gallows: 'In OE. the sing. galasga and the pl. galasgan are both used for ‘a gallows’, the pl. having reference presumably to the two posts of which the apparatus mainly consisted. Occasional examples of the sing. form occur in ME., and even down to the 17th c.; but from the 13th c. onwards the plural galwes and its later phonetic representatives have been the prevailing forms. So far as our material shows, Caxton is the first writer to speak of ‘a gallows’, though he also uses the older expression ‘a pair of gallows’; but it is, of course, possible that the pl. form was sometimes treated as a sing. much earlier. From the 16th c. gallows has been (exc. arch. in ‘pair of gallows’) used as a sing., with a new plural gallowses; the latter, though perh. not strictly obsolete, is now seldom used; the formation is felt to be somewhat uncouth, so that the use of the word in the plural is commonly evaded.' (asg is how an 'insular g' comes out when you copy and paste from O.E.D. Online.)

    August 12, 2009

  • Not related to plural gallows?

    August 12, 2009