thumbscrew

noun

thumb·​screw ˈthəm-ˌskrü How to pronounce thumbscrew (audio)
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

Illustration of thumbscrew
  • thumbscrew 2

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 Lock the cable in place by tightening the retaining thumbscrew. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, 10 Aug. 2021 So was the Labour Party’s use of thumbscrews on its wavering MPs. The Economist, 19 Oct. 2019 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of thumbscrew was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near thumbscrew

Cite this Entry

“Thumbscrew.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thumbscrew. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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