break on the wheel

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break on the wheel (third-person singular simple present breaks on the wheel, present participle breaking on the wheel, simple past broke on the wheel, past participle broken on the wheel)

  1. (transitive) To fasten (a criminal etc.) to a wheel and break his limbs or beat him to death.
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 270:
      Despite protesting his innocence under torture, the sexagenarian father was condemned by the Parlement in March 1762 to be broken on the wheel, a fate which he bore with stoical fortitude.