1. 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;
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
black hole \black" 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
A discipline of unlimited autocracy, upheld by rods,
and ferules, and the black hole. --H. Spencer.
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.
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."
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
Black Hole of Calcutta
n 1: 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