June 26, 2012
- defenestration (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a throwing of a person or thing out of a window
- How do you use it?
- Johnson felt that summer vacation really began after the defenestration of his class notebooks.
- Are you a word wiz?
"Defenestration" is a strange word with a strange beginning. What event do you think popularized "defenestration"?"Defenestration" traces to the Latin word for "window," but it was popularized by the Defenestration of Prague. In 1609, Hapsburg Emperor Rudolf II granted religious freedom to the Protestants in his lands. In 1618, some officials closed Protestant churches despite the Emperor's decree. The Protestants called an assembly at which two imperial officials were tried and found guilty of violating the decree. As punishment, they were thrown out the window of the room. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, and the word "defenestration" is now best used for tossing inanimate things (rather than people) out of windows.