thumb screw


a screw, the head of which is so constructed that it may be turned easily with the thumb and a finger.
Often, thumbscrews. an old instrument of torture by which one or both thumbs were compressed.

1705–15; thumb + screw Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
thumbscrew (ˈθʌmˌskruː)
1.  an instrument of torture that pinches or crushes the thumbs
2.  a screw with projections on its head enabling it to be turned by the thumb and forefinger

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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