thumbscrew
noun Date: 1788 1. an instrument of torture for compressing the thumb by a screw 2. a screw having a flat-sided or knurled head so that it may be turned by the thumb and index finger

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Thumbscrew — Thumb screw , n. 1. A screw having a flat sided or knurled head, so that it may be turned by the thumb and forefinger. [1913 Webster] 2. An old instrument of torture for compressing the thumb by a screw; a thumbkin. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • thumbscrew — ► NOUN ▪ an instrument of torture that crushes the thumbs …   English terms dictionary

  • thumbscrew — [thum′skro͞o΄] n. 1. a screw with a head shaped in such a way that it can be turned with the thumb and forefinger 2. a former instrument of torture for squeezing the thumbs …   English World dictionary

  • Thumbscrew — The thumbscrew, or pilliwinks, is a torture instrument which was used in medieval Europe. It is a simple vise, sometimes with protruding studs on the interior surfaces. The victim s thumbs or fingers were placed in the vise and slowly crushed.… …   Wikipedia

  • thumbscrew — UK [ˈθʌmˌskruː] / US [ˈθʌmˌskru] noun [countable] Word forms thumbscrew : singular thumbscrew plural thumbscrews a piece of equipment used in the past for torturing people by squeezing their thumbs very hard …   English dictionary

  • thumbscrew — [[t]θʌ̱mskruː[/t]] thumbscrews also thumb screw 1) N COUNT A thumbscrew is an object that was used in the past to torture people by crushing their thumbs. 2) N COUNT If someone puts the thumbscrews on you, they start to put you under extreme… …   English dictionary

  • thumbscrew — /thum skrooh /, n. 1. a screw, the head of which is so constructed that it may be turned easily with the thumb and a finger. 2. Often, thumbscrews. an old instrument of torture by which one or both thumbs were compressed. [1705 15; THUMB + SCREW] …   Universalium

  • thumbscrew — noun a) A screw that can be turned with the thumb and fingers b) An instrument of torture used to crush the fingers Syn: pilliwinks …   Wiktionary

  • thumbscrew — ● ►en n. f. ►CABLE Vis à main en français. Vis qu on peut visser et dévisser en vissant avec les doigts... (++). Signalé par Nancy Mobarhan …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • thumbscrew — thumb|screw [ˈθʌmskru:] n an object that was used in the past to punish people by crushing their thumbs …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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