[gil-uh-teen, gee-uh-; esp. for v. gil-uh-teen, gee-uh-]
a device for beheading a person by means of a heavy blade that is dropped between two posts serving as guides: widely used during the French revolution.
an instrument for surgically removing the tonsils.
any of various machines in which a vertical blade between two parallel uprights descends to cut or trim metal, stacks of paper, etc.
verb (used with object), guillotined, guillotining.
to behead by the guillotine.
to cut with or as if with a guillotine.

1785–95; named after J. I. Guillotin (1738–1814), French physician who urged its use

unguillotined, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  a.  a device for beheading persons, consisting of a weighted blade set between two upright posts
 b.  the guillotine execution by this instrument
2.  a device for cutting or trimming sheet material, such as paper or sheet metal, consisting of a blade inclined at a small angle that descends onto the sheet
3.  a surgical instrument for removing tonsils, growths in the throat, etc
4.  Also called: closure by compartment (in Parliament, etc) a form of closure under which a bill is divided into compartments, groups of which must be completely dealt with each day
5.  to behead (a person) by guillotine
6.  (in Parliament, etc) to limit debate on (a bill, motion, etc) by the guillotine
[C18: from French, named after Joseph Ignace Guillotin (1738--1814), French physician, who advocated its use in 1789]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1793, in allusion to Joseph Guillotin (1738-1814), Fr. physician, who as deputy to the National Assembly (1789) proposed, for humanitarian and efficiency reasons, that capital punishment be carried out by beheading quickly and cleanly on a machine, which was built in 1791 and first used the next year.
The verb is first attested 1794.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

guillotine guil·lo·tine (gĭl'ə-tēn', gē'ə-)
A ring-shaped instrument with a sliding knifeblade running through it, used in cutting off an enlarged tonsil.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
guillotine [(gil-uh-teen, gee-uh-teen)]

A machine designed for beheading people quickly and with minimal pain. The guillotine, which used a large falling knife blade, was devised by a physician, Joseph Guillotin, during the French Revolution and was used as the official method of execution in France until the twentieth century.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for guillotine
He barely escaped the guillotine, probably due to an administrative error.
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