from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A leather strap or thong which is split into (typically about three) tails, used for corporal punishment in schools.

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

  • n. a leather strap for punishing children


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently a plural form of taw, though attested earlier.


  • Also known as a “split paddle,” a tawse is a wide leather strap split into strips at the end light to intense.

    Come Hither

  • Just as he got astride the sill he spied a piece of chalk and the "tawse" on the table, so turning back he put the "tawse" in his pocket, and with the chalk wrote on the table: --

    The Underworld The Story of Robert Sinclair, Miner

  • He ran a long way, until finding that he had not been detected, he skirted a small wood, dug a hole in the soft moss, put in the "tawse," and covered them up.

    The Underworld The Story of Robert Sinclair, Miner

  • The strips had been hardened in the fire, and the 'tawse' was a holy horror to the boys, who saw it often and were threatened with it sometimes, but who had felt it never.

    Despair's Last Journey

  • The thong is the familiar "tawse" of schools north of the Border.

    Roman life in the days of Cicero

  • A design variation on the tawse is a “devil’s hand” moderate to intense, which is a leather paddle cut to resemble a three-fingered hand.

    Come Hither

  • Both went at it and for a couple of minutes defied the efforts of the teacher to separate them; but in response to calls for help, Mr. Clapper, the headmaster, came in, and taking hold of Robert soon had him across his knee, and was giving him a taste of the "tawse" he had heard so much about that morning, and Robert went back to his seat very sore, both physically and mentally, and crying in pain and anger.

    The Underworld The Story of Robert Sinclair, Miner

  • Well do I remember in days gone by, how, with my juvenile mind addled and my juvenile fingers tingling after an application of the "tawse," I have stared at my arithmetic book in despair -- hopelessly ignorant of the meaning of words and terms, utterly incapable of comprehending explanatory "rules," passionately averse to learning in every form, and longingly anxious for the period of emancipation to arrive, when I should be old and big enough to thrash my master!

    Six Months at the Cape

  • "There now," declared Mr. Clapper, flinging down the "tawse" upon the table, panting from his exertions and wiping his brow, "I shall leave you for a time until you decide to speak.

    The Underworld The Story of Robert Sinclair, Miner

  • Then he can have the pleasure of putting young Ruth Kelly over his knee and giving her a taste of the Scottish tawse when she comes up with a string of β minus reports.

    Cave! The Head is on the Prowl!


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "'We'd mostly get it across the palm of the hand with a tawse, in the schoolhouse, instead of on the backside. Father said if he whipped me on the hand, I'd not be able to do any work, whereas if he whipped my arse, I'd at least not be tempted to sit down and be idle.'"

    —Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (NY: Delacorte Press, 1991), 401

    January 2, 2010