Definition of pilliwinks in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɪlɪwɪŋks/

plural noun

An instrument of torture used for squeezing the fingers.
Example sentences
  • Other means of torture used in the Tower included the thumbscrew, the boot, the narrow-bore, the iron collar, the pilliwinks, and the brakes, a device used to break the victims' teeth.
  • If you can not be reined in, pilliwinks will be applied to set you right.


Late Middle English pyrwykes, pyrewinkes, of unknown origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pil¦li|winks

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