iron maiden


: a supposed medieval torture device consisting of a hollow iron statue or coffin in the shape of a woman that is lined with spikes which impale the enclosed victim

Examples of iron maiden in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The end result, constructed at Harvard, resembled the nave of a cathedral built by aliens to worship radial symmetry, or an iron maiden for punishing giant cubes. Caity Weaver, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2022 But there’s always the hope of coming up with the next iron maiden. Jack Handey, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 Winter coats can be like iron maidens for kids with sensory issues. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'iron maiden.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1757, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of iron maiden was in 1757

Dictionary Entries Near iron maiden

Cite this Entry

“Iron maiden.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

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