rackingly, adv.
/rak/, n.
1. a framework of bars, wires, or pegs on which articles are arranged or deposited: a clothes rack; a luggage rack.
2. a fixture containing several tiered shelves, often affixed to a wall: a book rack; a spice rack.
3. a spreading framework set on a wagon for carrying hay, straw, or the like, in large loads.
4. Pool.
a. a wooden frame of triangular shape within which the balls are arranged before play.
b. the balls so arranged: He took aim at the rack.
5. Mach.
a. a bar, with teeth on one of its sides, adapted to engage with the teeth of a pinion (rack and pinion) or the like, as for converting circular into rectilinear motion or vice versa.
b. a bar having a series of notches engaging with a pawl or the like.
6. a former instrument of torture consisting of a framework on which a victim was tied, often spread-eagled, by the wrists and ankles, to be slowly stretched by spreading the parts of the framework.
7. a cause or state of intense suffering of body or mind.
8. torment; anguish.
9. violent strain.
10. a pair of antlers.
11. Slang. a bed, cot, or bunk: I spent all afternoon in the rack.
12. to torture; distress acutely; torment: His body was racked with pain.
13. to strain in mental effort: to rack one's brains.
14. to strain by physical force or violence.
15. to strain beyond what is normal or usual.
16. to stretch the body of (a person) in torture by means of a rack.
17. Naut. to seize (two ropes) together side by side.
18. rack out, Slang. to go to bed; go to sleep: I racked out all afternoon.
19. rack up,
a. Pool. to put (the balls) in a rack.
b. Informal. to tally, accumulate, or amass as an achievement or score: The corporation racked up the greatest profits in its history.
[1250-1300; ME rakke, rekke (n.) < MD rac, rec, recke; cf. MLG reck, G Reck]
Syn. 7. torture, pain, agony, tribulation, ordeal. 12. See torment.
/rak/, n.
1. ruin or destruction; wrack.
2. go to rack and ruin, to decay, decline, or become destroyed: His property went to rack and ruin in his absence.
3. rack up, Slang. to wreck, esp. a vehicle.
[1590-1600; var. of WRACK1]
/rak/, n.
1. the fast pace of a horse in which the legs move in lateral pairs but not simultaneously.
2. (of horses) to move in a rack.
[1570-80; perh. var. of ROCK2]
/rak/, n.
1. Also called cloud rack. a group of drifting clouds.
2. to drive or move, esp. before the wind.
Also, wrack.
[1350-1400; ME rak, reck(e); orig. uncert.]
/rak/, v.t.
to draw off (wine, cider, etc.) from the lees.
[1425-75; late ME < OF; cf. obs. F raqué (of wine) pressed from the dregs of grapes]
/rak/, n.
1. the neck portion of mutton, pork, or veal.
2. the rib section of a foresaddle of lamb, mutton, or sometimes veal.
[1560-70; orig. uncert.]

* * *

▪ torture instrument
      a bedlike open frame suspended above the ground that was used as a torture device. The victim's ankles and wrists were secured by ropes that passed around axles near the head and the foot of the rack; when the axles were turned slowly by poles inserted into sockets, the victim's hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow joints would be dislocated.

      Introduced into the Tower of London (London, Tower of) about 1420 by the Duke of Exeter, the torture rack was known colloquially as “The Duke of Exeter's Daughter” and was operated by the yeoman warders to extract confessions and incriminating information from suspected traitors, heretics, and conspirators. Similar devices were used in Ireland in the 17th century and later in Portugal.

Geoffrey Abbott

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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