One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An iron bar with sliding shackles, formerly used for confining a prisoner's ankles.
shackles, manacles, handcuffs, irons, leg irons, chains, bondsView synonyms
- ‘The bilboes are still shown in the Tower of London, among the other spoils of the Spanish Armada.’
- ‘Stocks (also known as ‘bilboes’) were a commonplace feature of plantation discipline, but were used only once by the St. Andrew slave court.’
Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.
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