Friday, March 21, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: BASTINADO

BASTINADO (noun)

A punishment, of oriental origin, in which the soles of the feet are beaten. The term is useful for waiters who wish to preserve their dignity in dealing with female American tourist. When she palpates and rejects the third avacado you have offered her and in so doing casts hyperaudible aspersions upon your integrity, you smile imperturbably and say: "Would Madam perhaps prefer the Bastinado?" Alternatively, you might invoke the strappado-a torture inflicted by hoisting the victim by his tied hands and then dropping him so that his fall is cut short by the taut rope before he reaches the ground.



from The Superior Person's Book of Words by Peter Bowler

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