Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A stout leather strap reinforced internally with whalebone or even lead and used to inflict punishment - especially by using it to strike against the open uplifted hands on schoolboys.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Seems to have been used in Ireland for much of the 20th century. Since James Joyce cites it in the context of a Catholic school in his novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, it may have been a pun on the Latin word pendebat but was more probably derived from the Latin words Pande manum meaning Hold out your hand.

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