from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A dungeon with a trapdoor in the ceiling as its only means of entrance or exit.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To imprison in an oubliette.
  • noun A secret dungeon with an opening only at the top for the admission of air, used for persons condemned to perpetual imprisonment or to perish secretly, such as exist in some old castles or other buildings.
  • noun A secret pit, usually in the floor of a dungeon or a dark passage, into which a person could be precipitated and thus be destroyed unawares.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A dungeon with an opening only at the top, found in some old castles and other strongholds, into which persons condemned to perpetual imprisonment, or to perish secretly, were thrust, or lured to fall.

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

  • noun a dungeon with the only entrance or exit being a trap door in the ceiling


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

[French, from oublier, to forget, from Old French oblider, from Vulgar Latin *oblītāre, from Latin oblītus, past participle of oblīvīscī; see lei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French oubliette, from oublier ("to forget").


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  • All the latest toughs, well, we have seen that stuff, and we have seen enough blood in dying coughs, which means that we have lost. We have lost, and if you’re crying to be tossed they’ll toss you down the oubliette with all the old things that you let yourself forget because you’d like to love a star who’d throw you down below the ground he thinks you are.

    February 12, 2007

  • Oh, I thought it was like a suffragette who fights for the right to forget.

    April 12, 2008

  • As Sir Hosis took another swig of eau-de-vie, his pet kinkajou perched on his shoulder like a harbinger of doom, the xiphoid scar on his cheek throbbing as a reminder of previous battles, he cackled evilly: "Now that my brother is safely stashed in the oubliette, no need to wait for a quorum" and signed the order that consigned the prisoners to a painful death.

    (For an explanation of this potentially mystifying sentence, see this list:

    5 words )

    April 12, 2008

  • Oh, I thought it was like a suffragette who fights for the right to forget.

    Hee hee hee! Now I'm picturing a street full of women wearing petticoats, waving blank signs, and swigging from bottles of nepenthe.

    April 13, 2008

  • This word reminds me of Labyrinth:

    Hoggle: This is an oubliette, labyrinth's full of 'em.

    Sarah: Really. I didn't know that.

    Hoggle: Oh don't act so smart. You don't even know what an oubliette is.

    Sarah: Do you?

    Hoggle: Yes. It's a place you put people... to forget about 'em!

    April 14, 2008

  • Huh... I always thought oubliette meant chamber pot. *blush*

    May 1, 2008

  • It's a place you put people... to forget about 'em!

    Hoggle was quite correct; from the French word oubliez which means 'to forget.' Oh how I do love that movie!

    June 17, 2008

  • Curious how French can make the most horrific things sound adorable:

    The formidable Annette kept Jean-Pierre cloistered in her oubliette for several years until finally in a fit of pique she sent him to the abattoir.

    June 17, 2008

  • Still at the top of the "most wordied". Go oubliettes go!

    June 20, 2008

  • -ette suggests this is a small one. A full-sized one ought to be an oublie?

    June 22, 2008

  • You guys slay me. The Oubliettes were a Michigan high school hockey team that won national honors in 1956, and was promptly forgotten.

    August 13, 2008