Chinese water torture


Definition of Chinese water torture

: a form of torture in which a person is restrained and subjected to repetitive drips of water on the forehead I heard beeping for two days … It was driving me crazy like Chinese water torture. — Carol Kallberg, Daily Record (Wooster, Ohio), 14 Oct. 2012 often used figuratively Better to execute layoffs quickly and decisively, experts say … The alternate—the drip-drip-drip of repeated downsizings—is a Chinese water torture that kills morale and productivity.— Daniel McGinn, Newsweek, 25 June 2001

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First Known Use of Chinese water torture

1892, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of Chinese water torture was in 1892

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Cite this Entry

“Chinese water torture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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