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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Oubliette \Ou`bli`ette"\, n. [F., fr. oublier to forget, fr. (assumed) LL. oblitare, L. oblivisci, p. p. oblitus.] A dungeon with an opening only at the top, found in some old castles and other strongholds, into which persons condemned to perpetual imprisonment, or to perish secretly, were thrust, or lured to fall.

Sudden in the sun An oubliette winks. Where is he? Gone.
--Mrs. Browning.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"secret dungeon reached only via trapdoor," 1819, from French oubliette (14c.), from Middle French oublier "to forget, show negligence," Old French oblier, oblider, from Vulgar Latin *oblitare, from Latin oblitus, past participle of oblivisci "to forget" (see oblivion).


n. A dungeon only accessible by a trapdoor at the top. (from 18th c.)


n. a dungeon with the only entrance or exit being a trap door in the ceiling

Oubliette (The X-Files)

"Oubliette" is the eighth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files, and originally aired on the Fox network on November 17, 1995. Written by Charles Grant Craig and directed by Kim Manners, "Oubliette" is a "Monster-of-the-Week" story, unconnected to the series' wider mythology. It earned a Nielsen rating of 10.5 and was watched by 15.90 million people on its initial broadcast. The episode received positive reviews. Both the emotional nature of the story and David Duchovny's performance received positive critical attention.

The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully ( Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal, while the skeptical Scully has been assigned to debunk his work. In the installment, a little girl named Amy is kidnapped and imprisoned by a mentally unstable photographer. Mulder discovers a psychic connection between the recently kidnapped victim and Lucy, another girl kidnapped by the same man years ago. He attempts to use the connection to help solve the investigation, but discovers that the event may be too traumatic for Lucy to handle.

"Oubliette" is the only X-Files screenplay written by Craig, who exited the writing staff before the entry was produced. The extensive outdoor filming lead to several difficulties for the production crew. Amy was 12 years old in the original screenplay. The Fox network was concerned her situation was an uncomfortable parallel to the recent Polly Klaas case, resulting in her age being increased before filming could begin. Critics have complimented the thematic resonance of the kidnapping and its effect on Mulder.

Oubliette (disambiguation)

An oubliette is a type of dungeon.

Oubliette can also refer to:

  • Oubliette (The X-Files), an episode of The X-Files
  • The Oubliette, a 1914 film starring Lon Chaney, Sr.
  • A spaceship-like prison that appears in Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Oubliette, an early dungeon role-playing game for the PLATO computer system
  • A Moving City of Mars in The Quantum Thief, a 2010 novel by Hannu Rajaniemi

Usage examples of "oubliette".

Of course there were probably more men guarding the gate and the oubliette itself.

Was that truly a vision of betrayal and pain in an oubliette or just a dream brought on by my fears?

I found myself once more in the dank oubliette facing the saddened vision of my dear great-aunt.

Perhaps my vision of Aunt Lotta in the oubliette had been truth rather than hallucination.

The lights of the oubliette are of that ancient kind that is said to burn forever, though some have now gone out.

Then the journeymen on duty in the oubliette would hear tales of hunting dogs and remote heaths, and country games, unknown elsewhere, played beneath immemorial trees.

All that winter while snow whitened the Old Yard, I came up from the oubliette as if from sleep, and started to see the tracks my feet left behind me and my shadow on the snow.

In our oubliette, the overwhelming impression was of solidity and mass.

If I had been entering our own oubliette, I would have felt I was, quite literally, coming homeperhaps coming home to die, but coming home nevertheless.

Having escaped lucky from one womb, now forced into the oubliette of another not so happily starred?

With the native sound judgment of the father of a heroine of romance, the von Berlichingen of that day shut his daughter up in his donjon keep, or his oubliette, or his culverin, or some such place, and resolved that she should stay there until she selected a husband from among her rich and noble lovers.

He would never know what else the oubliette contained apart from the large useless article that would now serve the birth of a new urban deity.

Eleven The hole they made for Charles Yorke was not a grave, nor yet an oubliette, in theory.

The cord and transformer went down the oubliette, along with most of the perished items from the fridge.

I dumped the stuff down the oubliette and took new ingredients from the fridge.