Q: "gallows" also including a platform?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jan 7 02:07:37 UTC 2013

If someone was to be punished by being "set upon the gallows with a
rope around their neck" (as in colonial laws and verdicts), doesn't
that mean that there are usages of "gallows" that necessarily include
a platform?  The OED merely says the "apparatus" "usually consist[s]
of two uprights and a cross-piece".  I know there were hangings where
the executioner simply pulled up on a rope, but there were also
executions where a "platform" (such as a trap door) was lowered.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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