- an instrument of torture that pinches or crushes the thumbs
- a screw with projections on its head enabling it to be turned by the thumb and forefinger
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
thumb•screw /ˈθʌmˌskru/USA pronunciation n. [countable]WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
- Buildinga screw having a flat head that may be turned easily with the thumb and forefinger.
- Often, thumbscrews. [plural] an old instrument of torture by which one or both thumbs were squeezed.
thumb•screw (thum′skro̅o̅′),USA pronunciation n.
- Buildinga screw, the head of which is so constructed that it may be turned easily with the thumb and a finger.
- Often, thumbscrews. an old instrument of torture by which one or both thumbs were compressed.
- thumb + screw 1705–15
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
thumbscrew /ˈθʌmˌskruː/ n
'thumbscrew' also found in these entries (note: many are not synonyms or translations):