The Gallows, aka...?
January 19, 2008 2:50 AM   Subscribe

What nicknames are there for the gallows?

The guillotine is also known as "The Widow" or "Mary Anne"; the electric chair is "Old Sparky" or the "Hot Squat."

What about the gallows?

(Bonus points if the nickname is anthropomorphic.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal to Writing & Language (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, the only thing I can come up with right offhand is "the gallows tree", which, among other places, shows up in the folk song "Jim Jones". I know it from Bob Dylan's excellent version. Here's the lyric quote:

Come and listen for a moment, lads,
And hear me tell my tale.
How across the sea from England
I was condemned to sail.
Now the jury found me guilty,
Then says the judge, says he,
"Oh, for life, Jim Jones, I'm sending you
Across the stormy sea.
But take a tip before you ship
To join the iron gang.
Don't get too gay in Botany Bay,
Or else you'll surely hang.
Or else you'll surely hang," says he.
"And after that, Jim Jones,
It's high above on the gallows tree
The crows will pick your bones."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:00 AM on January 19, 2008


Some others:

the noose
the rope
the gibbet
the scaffold
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:22 AM on January 19, 2008


Here's a link for gibbet.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:24 AM on January 19, 2008


necktie, and that source also lists "necktie party", "necktie frolic", "necktie social" for a lynching specifically.
posted by XMLicious at 3:32 AM on January 19, 2008


hanging bee for a lynching, "halter" and "neckweed" for the noose itself.
posted by XMLicious at 3:39 AM on January 19, 2008


Google Books is also giving "Judge Lynch" and "stretching match" for a lynching and "hempen fever" for hanging in general via The American Thesaurus of Slang by Lester V. Berrey and Melvin Van den Bark.
posted by XMLicious at 3:48 AM on January 19, 2008




Scots of old called it The Widdie though this often referred to the rope (made from willow branches) rather than the wooden construction.

Buy a thief frae the widdie and he will hang ye up - Scots Proverb
posted by brautigan at 3:58 AM on January 19, 2008


The 1841 song "The Faking Boy to the Crap is Gone" (now my new favorite song) shows both "the crap" and "the nubbing-cheat" as slang terms for the gallows.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:01 AM on January 19, 2008


Heh, here's some good ones: to frolic in a hempen cravat, to fly on hempen wings, and "the hemp's grown for you" for someone who's just asking to be apprehended and hanged.

I can imagine Humphrey Bogart saying any of those.
posted by XMLicious at 4:02 AM on January 19, 2008


Tyburn tree
posted by zemblamatic at 4:04 AM on January 19, 2008


"Tuck up fair" also seems to be slang for the gallows.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:18 AM on January 19, 2008


And...under "nubbing cheat" this page also lists "sheriff's picture frame, three-legged mare, stool, topping cheat" as old slang terms for gallows.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:27 AM on January 19, 2008


The name 'Jack Ketch' is synonymous, but doesn't specifically refer to the actual physical gallows themselves.
posted by pompomtom at 5:27 AM on January 19, 2008


Drop, Long Drop, Morning Drop, New Drop... I remember "Would you risk the drop?" In one of the songs in Oliver!.

It says here that 'Crap'... mild English slang for rubbish or excrement comes from a slang term for gallows

Acorn, Chatts, Deadly nevergreen, Gregorian tree, Newman's lift, Nubbing cheat, Sheriff's picture frame, Three-legged mare, Three legged stool, Topping cheat
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:32 AM on January 19, 2008


BTW - NooseFilter? Oh, snap! I kill me!
posted by XMLicious at 6:42 AM on January 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You would be "dancing the hemp fandango".

"Nubbing cheat" is probably the most popular in Regency fiction, which probably (actually mostly guessing on this last bit) features the most gallows-style hangings (as opposed to just using any old convenient tree, like Westerns, or a firing squad like military stuff, etc.).
posted by anaelith at 6:48 AM on January 19, 2008


Place de Grève is synonymous with the gallows in Paris pre-1800s.
posted by yeti at 6:50 AM on January 19, 2008


Not a nickname per se, but in Spanish it's called "la horca" or "el patíbulo".
posted by micayetoca at 6:51 AM on January 19, 2008


I vaguely remember hearing the gallows described as the "Tree of Justice".
posted by Doctor Suarez at 7:53 AM on January 19, 2008


Dancing the Tyburn jig
posted by dilettante at 9:46 AM on January 19, 2008


I always thought The Brand new Tennessee Waltz was talking about hanging:


At the brand new Tennessee Waltz
You're literally waltzing on air
At the brand new Tennessee Waltz
There's no telling who will be there
posted by jamjam at 10:45 AM on January 19, 2008


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