Definition of tawse in English:


(also taws)

Pronunciation /tôz/ /tɔz/


  • A thong with a slit end, formerly used in schools for punishing children.

    ‘The Hootsmon has not shrunk from criticising the Scottish education system and - from time to time - has taken a tawse to its naked hurdies.’
    • ‘The school deserves praise for its initiative, and it's a far better means of improving behaviour than thrashing unruly children with the tawse.’
    • ‘The use of the tawse, a then popular and widely accepted form of punishment in Scottish schools, did not infringe the European Convention.’
    • ‘The conclusion was that the Court, without actually deciding whether the use of the tawse would contravene Art. 3, held that the threat of its use did not do so.’
    • ‘To use a well-known cricketing phrase, Gloag could get ‘more work’ on the tawse than any of the other masters.’


Early 16th century (denoting a whip for driving a spinning top): apparently the plural of obsolete taw ‘tawed leather’, from taw.