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flagellation

[flaj-uh-ley-shuh n] /ˌflædʒ əˈleɪ ʃən/
noun
1.
the act or process of flagellating.
2.
a masochistic or sadistic act in which the participants receive erotic stimulation from whipping or being whipped.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English < Late Latin flagellātiōn-, stem of flagellātiō. See flagellate, -ion
Related forms
self-flagellation, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for flagellation
n.

early 15c., "the scourging of Christ," from French flagellation or directly from Latin flagellationem (nominative flagellatio) "a scourging," from past participle stem of flagellare (see flagellum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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flagellation in Medicine

flagellation flag·el·la·tion (flāj'ə-lā'shən)
n.

  1. Whipping oneself or another as a means of arousing or heightening sexual feeling.

  2. The flagellar arrangement on an organism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for flagellation

in religion, the disciplinary or devotional practice of beating with whips. Although it has been understood in many ways-as a driving out of evil spirits, as purification, as a form of sadism, and as an incorporation of the animal power residing in the whip-none of these characterizations encompasses the whole range of the custom. In antiquity and among prehistoric cultures, ceremonial whippings were performed in rites of initiation, purification, and fertility, which often included other forms of physical suffering. Floggings and mutilations were sometimes self-inflicted. Beatings inflicted by masked impersonators of gods or ancestors figured in many Native American initiations. In the ancient Mediterranean, ritual floggings were practiced by the Spartans, and Roman heretics were whipped with thongs of oxtail, leather, or parchment strips, some being weighted with lead

Learn more about flagellation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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