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Strappado

A military punishment formerly practised; it consisted of pulling an offender to a beam and then letting him down suddenly; by this means a limb was not unfrequently dislocated. (Italian, strappare, to pull.)

“Were I at the strappado or the rack, I'd give no man a reason on compulsion.” —Shakespeare: 1 Henry IV., ii. 4.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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