Dictionary

thumbscrew

thumbscrew

noun thumb·screw \-ˌskrü\

: 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
:  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

Illustration of THUMBSCREW

First Known Use of THUMBSCREW

1788

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March 06, 2015
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