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Meaning of thumbscrew

thumb•screw

Pronunciation: (thum'skr"), [key]
— n.
  1. a screw, the head of which is so constructed that it may be turned easily with the thumb and a finger.
  2. Often,an old instrument of torture by which one or both thumbs were compressed.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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