from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Informal One who is destined or deserves to be hanged.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person who deserves to be, or is likely to be hanged.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a person who deserves the gallows.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who deserves to be hanged


Compare virtually identical French construction gibier de potence, and similar English jailbird. (Wiktionary)


  • Hereupon the King called his sworder of vengeance, who came with his lads, and said to him, “Take this gallows bird and strike off his head and after do the like with this harlot and burn their bodies, and consult me not about them a second time.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night


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