1 (usually thumbscrews) An instrument of torture for crushing the thumbs.
- The other mutineers, after torture with thumbscrews, were whipped and had ashes, salt and pepper rubbed into their wounds.
- As he was walking past a ship chandler's shop, he was shocked to see handcuffs, leg shackles, and thumbscrews in the window.
- One is not bound to regard torture as only present in a mediaeval dungeon where the appliances of rack and thumbscrew or similar devices were employed.
2A screw with a protruding winged or flattened head for turning with the thumb and forefinger.
- As we can see from the rear shot, these panels are removed via thumbscrews and Phillips screws.
- In the Weaver-based sight pictured here, windage is adjusted by turning two, locking, Allen-head windage screws opposite the thumbscrew.
- With a large thumbscrew, you can adjust the lever pivot in or out and hence vary the leverage ratio.
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