An instrument of torture used for squeezing the fingers.
More 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.