American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A leather scourge used for flogging.
- v. To flog with a knout.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A whip or scourge formerly used in Russia for the punishment of the worst criminals. Varying descriptions of it are given, and it was probably made in different forms; but its effect was so severe that few of those who were subjected to its full force survived the punishment. The emperor Nicholas substituted for the knout a milder whip.
- To punish with the knout or whip.
- n. A leather scourge (multi-tail whip), in the severe version known as 'great knout' with metal weights on each tongue, notoriously used in imperial Russia.
- v. To flog or beat with a knout.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A kind of whip for flogging criminals, formerly much used in Russia. The lash is a tapering bundle of leather thongs twisted with wire and hardened, so that it mangles the flesh.
- v. To punish with the knout.
- n. a whip with a lash of leather thongs twisted with wire; used for flogging prisoners
- Via French, from Russian кнут, from Old Norse knútr ("knot in a cord"). (Wiktionary)
- French, from Russian knut, from Old Russian knutŭ, from Old Norse knūtr, knot in cord. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Like Catharine II., her envied contemporary, she consulted no ties of nature in the disposal of her children, -- a system more in character where the knout is the logician than among nations boasting higher civilization: indeed her rivalry with Catharine even made her grossly neglect their education.”
“When Jason Philip came back from the inn, he said: “To believe that people can be ruled without the knout is a fatal delusion.””
“You peasants are getting too saucy since you ceased to be serfs, and the knout is the best school for you to learn politics in.”
“The knout was a large and strong whip, the lash of which consists of a tough, thick thong of leather, prepared in a particular way, so as greatly to increase the intensity of the agony caused by the blows inflicted with it.”
“The knout is a terrible i fli6tion ufed in this country.”
“knout" partakes a good deal of this same character of suffering.”
“He said that one of his purposes in staying in town, was to 'knout' me every day ” didn't he?”
“Naass swept the blanket from his shoulders, disclosing the gnarled and twisted flesh, marked with the unmistakable striations of the knout.”
“As the old Russian fable had it, the Tsar was a saintly man, and the injustices suffered daily by the mouzhiks, whose lot was starvation and the knout, were taking place only because his evil advisors were failing to keep him informed.”
“There were Indians that ran away, and when they were caught they were brought back and spread-eagled before the fort, where they and their tribe learned the efficacy of the knout.”
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