One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in historical contexts) an instrument of torture consisting of a coffin-shaped box lined with iron spikes.
- ‘She enticed local girls to her castle, where she hung them in metal cages and stuffed them into iron maidens.’
- ‘I always thought torture was bamboo shoots under the fingernails and iron maidens and such.’
- ‘They had an iron maiden, a rack, and men and woman's chastity belts.’
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