Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
early 13c., from cuck "to void excrement," from Old Norse kuka "feces" (the chair was sometimes in the form of a close-stool). Also known as trebucket and castigatory, it was used on disorderly women and fraudulent tradesmen, either in the form of public exposure to ridicule or for ducking in a pond.
a method of punishment by means of humiliation, beating, or death. The cucking stool (also known as a "scolding stool" or a "stool of repentance") was in most cases a commode or toilet, placed in public view, upon which the targeted person was forced to sit-usually by restraint, and often while being paraded through the town. The consequences of the ducking stool were far more severe. In use in England by the 17th century, the apparatus consisted of a wooden or iron armchair onto which the culprit was strapped. The chair was attached to a long wooden beam, usually located alongside a pond or river, and was lowered into the water. Repeated duckings routinely proved fatal, the victim dying of shock or drowning.