punishments. A punishment inflicted in some countries on supposed criminals to induce them to confess their crimes, and to reveal their associates. 2. This absurd and tyrannical practice never was in use in the United States; for no man is bound to accuse himself. An attempt to torture a person accused of crime, in order to extort a confession, is an indictable offence.
Law Dictionary – Alternative Legal Definition
In old criminal law. The question; the infliction of violent bodily pain upon a person, by means of the rack, wheel or other engine, under judicial sanction and superintendence, in connection with the interrogation or examination of the person, as a means of extorting a confession of guilt, or of compelling him to disclose his accomplices.