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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gallows \Gal"lows\, n. sing.; pl. Gallowsesor Gallows. [OE. galwes, pl., AS. galga, gealga, gallows, cross; akin to D. galg gallows, OS. & OHG. galgo, G. galgen, Icel. g[=a]lgi, Sw. & Dan. galge, Goth. galga a cross. Etymologically and historically considered, gallows is a noun in the plural number, but it is used as a singular, and hence is preceded by a; as, a gallows.] 1. A frame from which is suspended the rope with which criminals are executed by hanging, usually consisting of two upright posts and a crossbeam on the top; also, a like frame for suspending anything. [1913 Webster] So they hanged Haman on the gallows. --Esther vii. 10. [1913 Webster] If I hang, I'll make a fat pair of gallows. --Shak. [1913 Webster] O, there were desolation of gaolers and gallowses! --Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A wretch who deserves the gallows. [R.] --Shak. [1913 Webster] 3. (Print.) The rest for the tympan when raised. [1913 Webster] 4. pl. A pair of suspenders or braces. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] Gallows bird, a person who deserves the gallows. [Colloq.] Gallows bitts (Naut.), one of two or more frames amidships on deck for supporting spare spars; -- called also gallows, gallows top, gallows frame, etc. Gallows frame. (a) The frame supporting the beam of an engine. (b) (Naut.) Gallows bitts. Gallows tree, or Gallow tree, the gallows. [1913 Webster] At length him nail['e]d on a gallow tree. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]