One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A kind of pillory in which the offender is secured by the fingers.
2A device formerly used as a school punishment for fidgetting, nail-biting, etc., consisting of two small wooden plates with fingerholes into which the fingers are inserted with the hands behind the wearer's back, the plates then being tied together.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Robert Plot (bap. 1640, d. 1696), naturalist and antiquary.
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