One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A flat ruler with a widened end, formerly used for punishing children.
walking stick, stick, staffstick, rod, birchView synonyms
- ‘The cane, the birch and the ferule, a flat board also used to beat children and 'adults in a servile condition', were the teacher's badges. 438’
- ‘It was considered an excellent plan to beat all pupils with the ferule, in order to make knowledge enter the heads of the bad.’
Late Middle English (denoting the giant fennel): from Latin ferula (see ferula).
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