One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in imperial Russia) a whip used to inflict punishment, often causing death.
whip, horsewhip, bullwhip, switch, scourge, flagellum, cat-o'-nine-tails, cat, thong, flail, strap, birch, caneView synonyms
- ‘The men hold heavy, thick-ended knouts of ash; most of their sons carry whippy stems of hazel.’
- ‘‘Sergei - Kap - please don't -’ I begged, but the sting of the knout against the skin of my back made me cry out in mid-plea.’
- ‘Hugo Haase told the French socialists that ‘what the Prussian boot means to you, the Russian knout means to us’.’
Flog (someone) with a knout.
Mid 17th century: via French from Russian knut, from Old Norse knútr; related to knot.
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