from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A device consisting of a heavy blade held aloft between upright guides and dropped to behead the victim below.
  • n. An instrument, such as a paper cutter, similar in action to a guillotine.
  • transitive v. To behead with a guillotine.
  • transitive v. To cut with or as if with a guillotine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A machine used for the application of capital punishment by decapitation, consisting of a tall upright frame from which is suspended a heavy diagonal-edged blade.
  • n. A device used for cutting stacks of paper to straight edges, usually by means of a hinged blade attached to a flat platform.
  • n. A cloture; a motion that debate be ended and a vote taken.
  • v. To execute, cut or cut short (a person, a stack of paper or a debate) by use of a guillotine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A machine for beheading a person by one stroke of a heavy ax or blade, which slides in vertical guides, is raised by a cord, and let fall upon the neck of the victim.
  • n. Any machine or instrument for cutting or shearing, resembling in its action a guillotine.
  • transitive v. To behead with the guillotine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To behead by the guillotine.
  • n. A machine used in France for beheading condemned persons by the action of a heavily weighted, oblique-edged knife falling between two grooved posts upon the neck of the victim, whose head protrudes through a circular hole in a divided plank.
  • n. One of several machines similar in principle to the above, much used for cutting paper, straw, etc. Also called guillotine cutter.
  • n. In surgery, an instrument for cutting the tonsils.
  • n. A machine for breaking iron by means of a falling weight.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. closure imposed on the debate of specific sections of a bill
  • n. instrument of execution that consists of a weighted blade between two vertical poles; used for beheading people
  • v. kill by cutting the head off with a guillotine


French, after Joseph Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814), French physician.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French guillotine, after Dr Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, who proposed its use for capital punishment. (Wiktionary)



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