Definition of tawse in English:


(also taws)


  • A thong with a slit end, formerly used in schools for punishing children.

    • ‘The school deserves praise for its initiative, and it's a far better means of improving behaviour than thrashing unruly children with the tawse.’
    • ‘The use of the tawse, a then popular and widely accepted form of punishment in Scottish schools, did not infringe the European Convention.’
    • ‘The Hootsmon has not shrunk from criticising the Scottish education system and - from time to time - has taken a tawse to its naked hurdies.’
    • ‘To use a well-known cricketing phrase, Gloag could get ‘more work’ on the tawse than any of the other masters.’
    • ‘The conclusion was that the Court, without actually deciding whether the use of the tawse would contravene Art. 3, held that the threat of its use did not do so.’


Early 16th century (denoting a whip for driving a spinning top): apparently the plural of obsolete taw ‘tawed leather’, from taw.