Hmm, I'm surprised this wasn't in The American Underworld Dictionary...to ventilate is also sometime gangster slang for 'to shoot.' Presumably the reference involves making holes in someone and letting the air flow in/out...

Ven"ti*late (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ventilated (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Ventilating.] [L. ventilatus, p. p. of ventilare to toss, brandish in the air, to fan, to winnow, from ventus wind; akin to E. wind. See Wind rushing air.]

1.

To open and expose to the free passage of air; to supply with fresh air, and remove impure air from; to air; as, to ventilate a room; to ventilate a cellar; to ventilate a mine.

2.

To provide with a vent, or escape, for air, gas, etc.; as, to ventilate a mold, or a water-wheel bucket.

3.

To change or renew, as the air of a room.

Harvey.

4.

To winnow; to fan; as, to ventilate wheat.

5.

To sift and examine; to bring out, and subject to penetrating scrutiny; to expose to examination and discussion; as, to ventilate questions of policy.

Ayliffe.

6.

To give vent; to utter; to make public.

Macaulay took occasion to ventilate one of those starling, but not very profound, paradoxes. J. C. Shairp.

 

© Webster 1913.

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