- A person was tied hand and foot onto this table-like device, with the other ends of the rope were tied to large round pieces of wood that could be turned. When turned, the rope wrapped around the wood, creating great tension on the ropes. If the tension was strong enough, it would dislocate the person's arms and legs. There were only two racks in Britain. One was in the Tower of London, and the other in the Castle at Southampton. The Earl of Exeter invented the rack in Britain in the Middle Ages. Earlier versions of the rack were used in Ancient Egypt and Babylonia and in Italy around 1500 AD. See Torture and Ordeals.
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the rack — historical an instrument of torture consisting of a frame on which the victim was tied by the wrists and ankles and stretched. → rack … English new terms dictionary
To be on the rack — Rack Rack, n. [Probably fr. D. rek, rekbank, a rack, rekken to stretch; akin to G. reck, reckbank, a rack, recken to stretch, Dan. r[ae]kke, Sw. r[ a]cka, Icel. rekja to spread out, Goth. refrakjan to stretch out; cf. L. porrigere, Gr. ore gein.… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
To put to the rack — Rack Rack, n. [Probably fr. D. rek, rekbank, a rack, rekken to stretch; akin to G. reck, reckbank, a rack, recken to stretch, Dan. r[ae]kke, Sw. r[ a]cka, Icel. rekja to spread out, Goth. refrakjan to stretch out; cf. L. porrigere, Gr. ore gein.… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
off-the-rack — adjective (especially of clothing) made in standard sizes and available from merchandise in stock a ready made jacket ready to wear clothes • Syn: ↑off the shelf, ↑off the peg, ↑ready to wear • Similar to: ↑ready made … Useful english dictionary
on the rack — UNDER PRESSURE, under stress, under a strain, in distress; in trouble, in difficulties, having problems. → rack * * * adverb (or adjective) : under great mental or emotional stress : in acute anxiety or uncertainty * * * on the rack … Useful english dictionary
Off the Rack (TV series) — Off the Rack Genre Sitcom Written by Dan Guntzelman Steve Marshall Bob Randall Lissa Levin Timothy James Larry Balmagia Directed by Jay Sandrich (pilot) Noam Pitlik (series) Starring … Wikipedia
off the rack — (of clothes) ready made rather than made to order * * * off the rack US : in a store where clothes are sold in different sizes that are not made to fit a particular person He bought that suit off the rack. [=(Brit) off the peg] see also ↑off the… … Useful english dictionary