- an old instrument of torture similar to the thumbscrew.
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. 2018
- 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