Guy Fawkes and the language of plots


About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

Teerapat Seedafong/EyeEm/Getty

by Liz Walter

In November 1605, a man called Guy Fawkes was discovered in the cellar of the House of Lords in London, along with 36 barrels of gunpowder (a powder used to cause explosions). His intention was to blow up King James I and the whole of parliament because of their hostility to Catholics.

The plan became known as the Gunpowder Plot, and it is remembered in the UK on November 5th every year with bonfires and firework displays. Originally, this festival was known as ‘Gunpowder Treason Day’ (treason means doing something to harm your country or your king or queen), but we now call it ‘Bonfire Night’, ‘Fireworks Night’ or ‘Guy Fawkes Night’.

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