Definitions

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

  • n. A form of torture in which the victim is lifted off the ground by a rope attached to the wrists, which have been tied behind the back, and then is dropped partway to the ground with a jerk.
  • n. The apparatus employed in this method of torture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of torture in which the victim is hung from the ceiling by a rope attached to the hands, which are tied together behind the victim's back.
  • v. To torture by means of this device.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A military punishment formerly practiced, which consisted in drawing an offender to the top of a beam and letting him fall to the length of the rope, by which means a limb was often dislocated.
  • transitive v. To punish or torture by the strappado.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A punishment or torture which consisted in raising the victim to a certain height by a rope and letting him fall suddenly, the rope being secured to his person in such a way that the jerk in falling would inflict violent pain.
  • To torture by the strappado.

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

  • n. a form of torture in which the hands are tied behind a person's back and they are lifted off the ground by a rope tied to their wrists, then allowed to drop until their fall is checked with a jerk by the rope

Etymologies

Alteration of French strapade, from Old French, from Old Italian strappata, from strappare, to stretch tight, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • During his trial, he smuggled out to his daughter from prison a letter telling her of his innocence no matter what he said publicly after torture by thumb-screws, leg-screws, and the infamous strappado that ripped his shoulders apart.

    Dan Agin: A Demon in the Head I: Madness and Murderous Violence

  • “But thy ambition must go to sleep for a while, Scharfgerichter, for the stuff that came hither to-day is for dungeon and cord, or perhaps a touch of the rack or strappado — there is no honor to win on them.”

    Anne of Geierstein

  • Today, a torturer is likely to equip himself with non-specialized, dual-use items like a baseball bats, cables, iron pipes, pliers, sticks, and maybe a hook on the ceiling for the strappado (suspension by the wrists, tied behind the back).

    Russ Wellen: What Is It with Men and Torture?

  • For the record, strappado -- the act of tying a prisoner's arms behind his back and hoisting him upwards -- is also known as a "stress position."

    Bob Cesca: Liveblogging The Republican Convention - Day Two

  • Those who do the reverse expose themselves to a sound strappado.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • It crucifies worse than any tyrant; no torture, no strappado, no bodily punishment is like unto it.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • In Morocco he claims he underwent the strappado torture of being hung for hours from his wrists, and scalpel cuts to his chest and penis and that a CIA officer was a regular interrogator.

    Easter Lemming Liberal News

  • The strappado as described by Smollett, however, is a more severe form of torture even than that practised by the Inquisition, and we can only hope that his description of its brutality is highly coloured.

    Travels through France and Italy

  • He describes the ghetto (p. 171), the police arrangements of the place which he finds in the main highly efficient, and the cruel punishment of the strappado.

    Travels through France and Italy

  • The garrucha or strappado and the garrotes, combined with the water-torture and the rack, represented the survival of the fittest in the natural selection of torments concerning which the Holy Office in Italy and Spain had such a vast experience.

    Travels through France and Italy

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