thumbscrew

noun thumb·screw \ -ˌskrü \

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

Recent Examples of thumbscrew from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thumbscrew.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Illustration of thumbscrew

First Known Use of thumbscrew

1788



THUMBSCREW Defined for English Language Learners

thumbscrew

noun

Definition of thumbscrew for English Language Learners

  • : 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


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