Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

thumbscrew

play
noun thumb·screw \-ˌskrü\

Simple Definition of thumbscrew

  • : a device used in the past to torture people by crushing their thumbs

  • : a type of screw with a flat-sided head that can be held and turned with your thumb and fingers

Full Definition of thumbscrew

  1. 1 :  an instrument of torture for compressing the thumb by a screw

  2. 2 :  a screw having a flat-sided or knurled head so that it may be turned by the thumb and index finger



Learn More about thumbscrew


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up thumbscrew? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ