Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ



Aug 22, 2019
This week’s theme
People who have become verbs

This week’s words
pythagorize
malaprop
nestorize
dewitt
aladdinize

dewitt
The De Witt Brothers in Prison (detail)
Art: Simon Opzoomer, 1843

Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

dewitt

PRONUNCIATION:
(di-WIT)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To kill by mob violence.

ETYMOLOGY:
After brothers, Johan and Cornelius De Witt, Dutch statesmen, who were killed by a mob on Aug 20, 1672. Earliest documented use: 1689.

NOTES:
Today’s word has a better-known synonym: lynch. While the word lynch is coined after the perpetrator of such extra-judicial killing (Captain William Lynch), the word dewitt is coined after people who were the object of such violence.

USAGE:
“As Lockhard in his papers says, ‘Had Mr. Campbell himself been in town they had certainly dewitted him.’”
Constance Russell; Three Generations of Fascinating Women; Longmans, Green; 1905.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" "That's against the law!" "Oh. Of course." -Ray Bradbury, science-fiction writer (22 Aug 1920-2012)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2019 Wordsmith