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branks Syllabification: branks
Pronunciation: /braNGks/

Definition of branks in English:

plural noun

An instrument of punishment for a scolding woman, consisting of an iron framework for the head and a sharp metal gag for restraining the tongue.
Example sentences
  • As punishment, the branks was locked about the women's heads to humiliate them and teach them their place.
  • I am glad John Winthorp and John Carver did not bring cumbrous and cruel iron branks to America.
  • These branks and the stocks are examples of implements of corporal punishment used in early modern Glasgow.


Mid 16th century: origin uncertain; compare with German Pranger 'a pillory or bit for a horse' and Dutch prang 'a fetter'; also with late Middle English barnacle(s), denoting a powerful bit for restraining a horse.

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