draw and quarter

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draw and quarter

1. To hang and dismember someone. This phrase can also be preceded by the word "hang," as in "hang, draw, and quarter." This criminal is to be drawn and quartered, so once they pull him from the gallows, he'll be dismembered.
2. To kill a prisoner by tying each limb to a horse and then sending each horse in a different direction. When he's drawn and quartered, the horses will pull his body apart in a gruesome scene.
3. By extension, to punish someone severely. This usage is hyperbolic. Oh, she'll be drawn and quartered when mom and dad find out that she ran off to New York.
See also: and, draw, quarter

*drawn and quartered

Fig. to be dealt with very severely. (Now fig. except in historical accounts; refers to a former practice of torturing someone guilty of treason, usually a male, by disembowling and dividing the body into four parts. *Typically: be ~; have someone ~. Fixed order.) Todd was practically drawn and quartered for losing the Wilson contract. You were much too harsh with Jean. No matter what she did, she didn't need to be drawn and quartered for it!
See also: and, drawn, quarter

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