Definitions for tawse
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word tawse
a leather strap for punishing children
A leather strap or thong which is split into (typically about three) tails, used for corporal punishment in schools.
Origin: Apparently a plural form of taw, though attested earlier.
The tawse, sometimes formerly spelled taws is an implement used for corporal punishment. It was used for educational discipline, primarily in Scotland, but also in schools in the English cities of Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Manchester and Walsall. A tawse consists of a strip of leather, with one end split into a number of tails. The thickness of the leather and the number of tails is variable. Many Scottish saddlers made tawses for local schoolmasters. The official name "tawse" was hardly ever used in conversation by either teachers or pupils, who instead referred to it as either the school strap or the belt, the normal term for an unforked implement, as worn in trousers. Scottish public schools used the tawse to punish pupils of either sex on the palm of the outstretched hand. Pupils were usually instructed to hold out one hand, palm uppermost, supported by the other hand below, which made it difficult to move the hand away during the infliction of the strokes. It also ensured that the full force of each stroke was taken by the hand being strapped. The punishment was usually inflicted by the class teacher in front of the class, to act as a deterrent to others; sometimes by a designated teacher, such as the Deputy Headmaster, to whom the pupil was sent.
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