Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at
Fri Jul 31 09:08:19 PDT 1998

Sorry, but the etymological roots of "defenestrate" have to do with tossing things out windows. "Fenetre" (with a cirumflex over the second e indicating that it used to be followed by an s) is French for window and comes from the Latin.

The historical reference is to two such incidents in Prague during the Reformation when nationalist Hussite Czechs tossed Catholic leaders beholden to the Habsburgs out windows of the palace. Many view the "accidental" fall of Prime Minister Masaryk off a balcony in 1948 as a rather curious echo of this, albeit that did not precisely involve any windows. Barkley Rosser On Fri, 31 Jul 1998 08:24:47 PDT alec ramsdell <a_ramsdell at> wrote:

> >Doyle
> >Defenstrate Alec I thought meant something like pulling the guts out of
> >a shrimp, but my dictionary (an old one) says throw it out the window.
> >Is that what you meant, throw my tv out the window?
> >
> Defenestrate; jettison; catapult--curiously enough the etymologies of
> these words all converge at the latin verb "chuck". As far as aquatics
> go, I will never get straight the distinctions between flotsam, jetsam,
> and lagan.
> Many are the occasions when I've been tempted to politely defenestrate
> this computer. But unlike the old Federal Reserve of SF building next
> door, at another law firm I temped at, the windows of this modern
> building don't open.
> -Alec
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-- Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at

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