Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A leather scourge used for flogging.
  • transitive v. To flog with a knout.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.
  • transitive v. To punish with the knout.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To punish with the knout or whip.
  • n. A whip or scourge formerly used in Russia for the punishment of the worst criminals.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a whip with a lash of leather thongs twisted with wire; used for flogging prisoners

Etymologies

French, from Russian knut, from Old Russian knutŭ, from Old Norse knūtr, knot in cord.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Via French, from Russian кнут, from Old Norse knútr ("knot in a cord"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 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.

    Court Memoirs of France Series — Complete

  • When Jason Philip came back from the inn, he said: “To believe that people can be ruled without the knout is a fatal delusion.”

    Gänsemännchen. English

  • 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.

    Vera or, The Nihilists

  • 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.

    Peter the Great

  • The knout is a terrible i fli6tion ufed in this country.

    A new moral system of geography

  • "knout" partakes a good deal of this same character of suffering.

    Oak Openings

  • He said that one of his purposes in staying in town, was to 'knout' me every day ” didn't he?

    The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett

  • Naass swept the blanket from his shoulders, disclosing the gnarled and twisted flesh, marked with the unmistakable striations of the knout.

    An Odyssey of the North

  • 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.

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • 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.

    Lost Face

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  • "But in The Gulag Archipelago, I had read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's musings on the proper memorial for the forced labor camps of Stalin's time: "I visualize…," Solzhenitsyn wrote, "somewhere on a high point in the Kolyma, a most enormous Stalin, just such a size as he himself dreamed of, with mustaches many feet long and the bared fangs of a camp commandant, one hand holding the reins and the other wielding a knout with which to beat his team of hundreds of people harnessed in fives and all pulling hard. This would also be a fine sight on the edge of the Chukchi Peninsula next to the Bering Strait.""
    Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier, p 84

    February 8, 2011

  • "Each packet held three photographs of women, women bound, women gagged, women lashed to bedsteads, to racks, with whips, scourges, knouts, by other women. Their eyes were always turned to the camera, empty, meek, expressionless, like the eyes of laden donkeys."
    - 'A Needle For Your Pornograph', Germaine Greer in Sunday Times, 1971.

    April 6, 2008

  • From the Russian word кнут – knut.

    January 3, 2008

  • Ouch.

    March 30, 2007