I’ve picked this one purely because I like it and I don’t think it gets used enough. If you haven’t come across it before, it’s a weirdly grand word for a pretty simple concept; it means to throw something or someone out of a window. The etymology’s straightforward – it comes from the Latin ‘de-’ for ‘out’ and ‘fenestra’ for ‘window’. If you’re the person going out of the window you’re a ‘defenestratee’. And you can also autodefenestrate, which is when you chuck yourself out.
The most famous use of the word is probably the Defenestration of Prague. There are actually two of these (people in Prague seem to like lobbing each other out of windows). The most well-known was in 1618 when three Catholic officials were thrown from a top-floor window of Prague Castle by Bohemian (the kingdom, not the lifestyle choice) Protestant activists. Despite surviving the 70-foot fall, this event kicked off the Thirty Years’ War – one of the longest and bloodiest wars in European history.
The English poet RP Lister wrote a poem called ‘Defenestration’, which is all about how ridiculous it is that there’s a word for throwing someone out of a window (‘Why, then, of all the possible offences so distressing to humanitarians / Should this one alone have caught the attention of the verbarians?’) which is well worth a read if you have a spare couple of minutes. Oh, and it’s seems to be up for debate as to whether the window has to be open or not before you carry out a defenestration.