pilliwinks

[ pil-uh-wingks ]
/ ˈpɪl əˌwɪŋks /

noun (used with a singular or plural verb)

an old instrument of torture similar to the thumbscrew.

Nearby words

  1. pillbug,
  2. piller,
  3. pillhead,
  4. pillie,
  5. pillion,
  6. pillock,
  7. pillory,
  8. pillow,
  9. pillow block,
  10. pillow fight

Origin of pilliwinks

1350–1400; Scots variant of late Middle English pyrwykes, pyrewinkes < ?

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for pilliwinks

pilliwinks

/ (ˈpɪlɪˌwɪŋks) /

pl n

a medieval instrument of torture for the fingers and thumbs

Word Origin for pilliwinks

C14: of uncertain origin

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012