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mid-15c., "two-wheeled cart," earlier an instrument of punishment of uncertain type (early 13c.), from Old French tumberel "dump cart," from tomber "(let) fall or tumble," possibly from a Germanic source (cf. Old Norse tumba "to tumble," Old High German tumon "to turn, reel;" see tumble). Notoriously used to take victims to the guillotine during the Reign of Terror.
French two-wheeled dumpcart or wagon designed to be drawn by a single draft animal. Originally used to carry agricultural supplies, it was most often associated with the cartage of animal manure. It was also used, however, by artillery units to carry tools and ammunition, and during the French Revolution it gained wide celebrity as the vehicle used to bear prisoners to the guillotine.