burn at the stake

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burn at the stake

1. Literally, to execute someone by tying them to a stake and setting them on fire (a common punishment for heretics in the Middle Ages). A noun or pronoun can be used between "burn" and "at." Is it true that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake?
2. By extension, to punish someone harshly or excessively. A noun or pronoun can be used between "burn" and "at." The kids definitely should not have broken curfew, but don't burn them at the stake for it. I think the board wants to burn the ex-CEO at the stake for his corrupt business practices.
See also: burn, stake

burn someone at the stake

 
1. Lit. to set fire to a person tied to a post (as a form of execution). They used to burn witches at the stake.
2. Fig. to chastise or denounce someone severely or excessively. Stop yelling. I made a simple mistake, and you're burning me at the stake for it. Sally only spilled her milk. There is no need to shout. Don't burn her at the stake for it.
See also: burn, stake

burn at the stake

Execute someone by tying to a stake and burning; also, punish severely. This expression refers to a method used in the Middle Ages for putting heretics to death, but now it is used as a hyperbolic metaphor for harsh punishment, as in She was sure she'd be burned at the stake for losing the contract. In fact, the stake can be used loosely for any extreme punishment. William Makepeace Thackeray so used it in Henry Esmond (1852): "'I know I would go to the stake for you,' said Harry."
See also: burn, stake
References in periodicals archive ?
Now, you can finally listen to these high-energy folk and dance tunes without fear of 1) excommunication, if you have a good lawyer or 2) being burned at the stake, if you don't.
You may find yourself being burned at the stake for being a time traveling skate-witch .
Those refusing to give up the Torah and their faith had their wealth confiscated and were imprisoned, tortured and then burned at the stake by the church.
BRITAIN's top witch has put a curse on Scots tourist bosses for mocking victims who were burned at the stake.
She was beheaded instead of being burned at the stake.
The French saint was burned at the stake by English forces in Rouen, Normandy, in 1431.
And though an informal poll showed Friday night that about 99percent of fans in the left-field pavilion at Dodger Stadium want him burned at the stake, there is little chance of anything happening.
More seriously, if you were labelled as a heretic in the Middle Ages, it could mean your being burned at the stake, so in the end, the choice of descriptive words can be vitally important.
Before Copernicus turned astronomy on its ear (and got his followers tortured, imprisoned and burned at the stake for blasphemy), Claudius Ptolemy was the undisputed word on the Earth's status in the universe.
Meanwhile Hannah shuttles between Mary and Elizabeth, seemingly a royal favorite but always in terror of being revealed as a Jew and burned at the stake.
Surveying the more than 50 texts that he produced before he was burned at the stake by the Inquisition as an unrepentant heretic, she describes his axioms, foci, lines, angles, curves, and the point.
When the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamozov has finished explaining to Christ why he must be burned at the stake the following morning, Christ approaches the old man, takes his head in his hands, and, with infinite compassion, bestows a kiss on his forehead.
If you don't believe that, pick up a history book and read about 16th-century Geneva, where Miguel Servetus was burned at the stake for disagreeing with John Calvin's view of the Trinity.
Thousands of conversos were burned at the stake by church inquisitors who treated "Jewish blood taint" as a contaminant irrespective of religious subscription, laying the grounds for the racialist anti-Semitism of Nazism.
Follow Cuckoo Jack as he wanders the banks of the Tyne searching for the 200 souls that will release him from his curse; watch Charles Gray dissect a half-dead criminal; join highwaymen Wilkinson and Hetherington for their last meal; hear the tale of the Wallsend witch burned at the stake and witness the fate of poor Miss Amy Fawcett.