Black Hole of Calcutta
black hole lack" hole` A dungeon or dark cell in a prison; a military lock-up or guardroom; -- now commonly with allusion to the cell (the Black Hole) in a fort at Calcutta (called the {Black Hole of Calcutta}), into which 146 English prisoners were thrust by the nabob Suraja Dowla on the night of June 20, 1765, and in which 123 of the prisoners died before morning from lack of air. [1913 Webster]

A discipline of unlimited autocracy, upheld by rods, and ferules, and the black hole. --H. Spencer. [1913 Webster]

2. (Physics, Astron.) An astronomical object whose mass is so condensed that the gravitational force does not allow anything, even light, to escape from its outer limit (the {event horizon}). The existence of such objects was first proposed from theoretical considerations. Because light cannot escape from such objects, they have not yet been detected with certainty (1998), but several "candidates" have been observed whose properties strongly suggest that they are black holes. Some theorists suggest that the centers of many galaxies may have large black holes at their cores. See also {escape velocity}. [PJC]

3. [from the astronomical black hole.] a place into which things may enter, but can never emerge. [Fig., Jocose] "He was so disorganized his office was a black hole." [PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Black Hole of Calcutta — Black Hole of Cal|cut|ta, the a small room used as a prison in Calcutta, India. In 1756, 146 British prisoners were put into it, and most of them died in one night. People sometimes say that a small very crowded room or dark place is like the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Black Hole of Calcutta — The Black Hole of Calcutta was a small dungeon in Fort William where troops of the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud Daulah, held British prisoners of war after the capture of Fort William on June 20, 1756. John Zephaniah Holwell claimed that following… …   Wikipedia

  • Black Hole of Calcutta — the name later given to the tiny room in Calcutta, India, in which 146 British prisoners, including one woman, were put by the Indian leader who captured them on 20 June 1756. The next morning only 22 men and the woman were still alive, though… …   Universalium

  • Black Hole of Calcutta — noun a dungeon (20 feet square) in a fort in Calcutta where as many as 146 English prisoners were held overnight by Siraj ud daula; the next morning only 23 were still alive • Instance Hypernyms: ↑keep, ↑donjon, ↑dungeon …   Useful english dictionary

  • Black Hole of Calcutta — noun a dungeon in which the Nawab of Bengal in 1756 confined 146 English prisoners for a night, of whom only 23 were alive in the morning …   Australian English dictionary

  • BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA —    a confined apartment 13 ft. square, into which 146 English prisoners were crammed by the orders of Surajah Dowia on the 19th June 1756; their sufferings were excruciating, and only 23 survived till morning …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Black Hole of Calcutta, the — Black Hole of Cal|cut|ta, the [ ,blæk ,houl əv kæl kʌtə ] a place that is very crowded and uncomfortable …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • (the) Black Hole of Calcutta — the Black Hole of Calcutta [the Black Hole of Calcutta] the name later given to the tiny room in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, in which 146 British prisoners, including one woman, were put by the Indian leader who captured them on 20 June 1756. The… …   Useful english dictionary

  • black hole — lack hole A dungeon or dark cell in a prison; a military lock up or guardroom; now commonly with allusion to the cell (the Black Hole) in a fort at Calcutta (called the {Black Hole of Calcutta}), into which 146 English prisoners were thrust by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • black hole — in astrophysics, 1968, probably with awareness of Black Hole of Calcutta, incident of June 19, 1756, in which 146 British POWs taken by the Nawab of Bengal after the capture of Ft. William, Calcutta, were held overnight in punishment cell of the… …   Etymology dictionary

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