Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today's word: pandybat

pandybat: An instrument of corporal punishment -- noted in various places as being either a reinforced strap, a cane, or some type of over-designed paddle -- used to flog unruly students on the palms of their hands.

This is another new one for me from James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:

Stephen closed his eyes and held out in the air his trembling hand with the palm upwards. He felt the prefect of studies touch it for a moment at the fingers to straighten it and then the swish of the sleeve of the soutane as the pandybat was lifted to strike. A hot burning stinging tingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick made his trembling hand crumple together like a leaf in the fire: and at the sound and the pain scalding tears were driven into his eyes.

From some of the other text in the book, it seems that, in more severe cases, the pandybat was used on a boy's bare bottom. I don't have any personal experience either way.

Pandybat doesn't appear in my dictionary (hopefully, its use in education has become so obsolete that the word is no longer needed), but pandy, defined as the striking of the palm of the hand as punishment, does.

Does anyone out there have any first-hand stories of being pandied? What's the worse punishment you ever received in school?