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Via French, from Russian кнут (knut),from Old East Slavic кнутъ (knutŭ), from Old Norse knútr (knot in a cord).



knout (plural knouts)

  1. A leather scourge (multi-tail whip), in the severe version known as 'great knout' with metal weights on each tongue, notoriously used in imperial Russia.
    • 1832 October 27, Winthrop Mackworth Praed; Derwent Coleridge, “Tales out of School. A Dropt Letter from a Lady.”, in The Poems of Winthrop Mackworth Praed, []. In Two Volumes, volume II, 4th edition, London: E[dward] Moxon, Son & Co., [], published 1874, OCLC 894138547, page 217:
      In Moscow, a Court carbonadoes / His ignorant serfs with the knout; / [] / But Eton has crueller terrors / Than these,—in the Windsor Express.
    • 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 5:
      Torture in a public school is as much licensed as the knout in Russia.
    • 1980: Spray and then slogging knouts of water hit the windows or lights like snarling disaffected at a mansion of the rich and frivolous. — Anthony Burgess, Earthly Powers
    • 2005: The lieutenant gave him twenty strokes of the knout and stuck him in a cage for a few days till the snow was ankle deep. — James Meek, The People's Act of Love (Canongate 2006, p. 193)



knout (third-person singular simple present knouts, present participle knouting, simple past and past participle knouted)

  1. To flog or beat with a knout.
    • 1992, Will Self, Cock and Bull:
      Different, isn’t it? It’s called kava, by the way. The Fijians make it by knouting some root or other.



From Russian кнут (knut), from Old East Slavic кнутъ (knutŭ), from Old Norse knútr (knot)


  • IPA(key): /knut/
  • (file)


knout m (plural knouts)

  1. knout, scourge
  2. a flogging administered with such a multiple whip; a condemnation to suffer it


  • English: knout

Further reading[edit]