Monday, 8 September 2014

Defenestration - Window Dropping

Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes

DEFENESTRATION

Noun. Early 17th century.
[modern Latin defenestratio(n), from de- + fenestra window.]

The action of throwing a thing or (usually) a person out of a window.

Also:
defenestrate verb intrans. E17

While defenestrations are probably a lot less common than Hollywood action films would have us believe, there have been a number of high profile window tossings throughout history. Perhaps the most famous is that of Jezebel, who was ignominiously tossed out of a window by her own eunuchs (and then, to add insult to blunt force trauma, she was eaten by dogs).

Perhaps the most bizarre case, however, is Garry Hoy's autodefenestration in 1993. Hoy was a Canadian lawyer with a penchant for demonstrating the unbreakability of his firm's windows by hurling himself against them. Unfortunately, on what would be his last demonstration, he again successfully showed that the glass was unbreakable, but not so the window frames into which they were set, and he plummeted to his death from the 24th floor.

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9 comments:

  1. So you mean to tell me throwing a person out of a window is such a common thing in daily life, somehow a word for it was needed?

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    1. According to Hollywood, a fight's not a fight unless someone has been defenestrated. And what are we supposed to say? "Thrown through a window"? We're not barbarians, Bibi!

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    2. Actually there is a Greek equivalent that we use metaphorically to mean that someone was made to resign from his job, or that they were kicked out of somewhere. (Very frequently used in newspaper articles) (εκπαραθυρώνω=ekparatheerono)

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  2. Is that a Portuguese window? (can't open flickr right now ;)) Don't let anyone defenestrate it... those tiles are priceless. ;)
    Surprised you didn't brought up the Defenestrations of Prague as the most famous of all.

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    1. Yes it is! Well spotted. And a rather lovely window it is indeed.

      I did look up the Defenestrations of Prague, but I thought, as defenestrations go, they were a bit dull; I thought Jezebel was far more famous, and Mr Garry Hoy was, well, funnier.

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  3. Throwing a computer out of a window is the modern equivalent, particularly if it is running Fenestrae 8.

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    1. There's a conspiracy theory that states that a dark secret society called the Fenestrati are using Windows 8 to overthrow the present world order. I don't know too much about it, but it sounds feasible.

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    2. The Appl'ati are gaining ground too with their infection resistant OS troops. In the meantime just keep looking out the windows, checking first to see who is behind you.

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