draw and quarter


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draw and quarter

Punish severely, as in Mom'll draw and quarter me if even one scratch appears on her new car. This expression alludes to two brutal forms of execution practiced in the past. In one the victim was drawn by a horse to a gallows, hanged, and then cut into four pieces and scattered; in the other the victim was hanged, disemboweled while still alive ( drawn), and then beheaded and dismembered. In both the victim was said to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Today the term is usually used hyperbolically.
See also: and, draw, quarter

draw and quarter

1. To execute (a prisoner) by tying each limb to a horse and driving the horses in different directions.
2. To disembowel and dismember after hanging.
3. Informal To punish severely: The teenager was drawn and quartered for wrecking the family's only car.
See also: and, draw, quarter