from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A leather scourge used for flogging.
  • transitive verb To flog with a knout.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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 verb To punish with the knout.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.
  • verb To flog or beat with a knout.

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

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


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

[French, from Russian knut, from Old Russian knutŭ, from Old Norse knūtr, knot in cord.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Via French, from Russian кнут, from Old Norse knútr ("knot in a cord").


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  • Ouch.

    March 30, 2007

  • From the Russian word кнут – knut.

    January 3, 2008

  • "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

  • "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