Definition of John Byng from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


John Byng

; NAmE
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(1704-57) a British admiral (= a senior navy officer) who was tried by a military court and shot for failing to protect some British soldiers when they were being attacked. The French writer Voltaire referred to Byng's death in his humorous book Candide. He said that in England they liked to kill an admiral occasionally 'to encourage the others'. This phrase, (in French pour encourager les autres) is still often used in written and spoken English.