Definition of peine forte et dure in English:

peine forte et dure


mass noun
  • A medieval form of torture in which the body was pressed with heavy weights.

    • ‘By some error this section came to be interpreted as ‘peine forte et dure’, which in turn came to be literally interpreted as the placing of weights upon the hapless prisoner, increasing until he either consented to jury trial or perished.’
    • ‘He himself was apprehended whilst on his way to try to kill the youngest child, who was at nurse a few miles away, and died under the peine forte et dure at York on 5 August 1605.’
    • ‘Pressing, also known as peine forte et dure, was both a death sentence and a means of drawing out confessions.’
    • ‘There was still the terrible penalty of peine forte et dure, by which a man could be pressed to death if he refused to plead to an indictment.’
    • ‘Pressing to death, the peine forte et dure, was a well-known form of medieval interrogation still largely in use during Elizabeth's reign.’


French, literally ‘strong and hard suffering’.


peine forte et dure

/pɛn ˌfɔːt eɪ ˈd(j)ʊə/