ordeal


ordeal
The most ancient species of trial, in Saxon and old English law, being peculiarly distinguished by the appellation of "judicium Dei," or "judgment of God," it being supposed that supernatural intervention would rescue an innocent person from the danger of physical harm to which he was exposed hi this species of trial.
The ordeal was of two sorts,-either fire ordeal or water ordeal; the former being confined to persons of higher rank, the latter to the common people.
@ fire ordeal
The ordeal by fire or red-hot iron, which was performed either by taking up in the hand a piece of red-hot iron, of one, two, or three pounds weight, or by walking barefoot and blindfolded over nine red-hot plowshares, laid lengthwise at unequal distances.
@ water ordeal
In Saxon and old English law, the ordeal or trial by water. The hot-water ordeal was performed by plunging the bare arm up to the elbow in boiling water, and escaping unhurt thereby. The cold-water ordeal was performed by casting the person suspected into a river or pond of cold water, when, if he floated therein, without any action of swimming it was deemed an evidence of his guilt; but, if he sunk, he was acquitted. 4 BLComm. 343
@

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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  • Ordeal — Or de*al ([^o]r d[ e]*al), n. [AS. ord[=a]l, ord[=ae]l, a judgment; akin to D. oordeel, G. urteil, urtheil; orig., what is dealt out, the prefix or being akin to [=a] compounded with verbs, G. er , ur , Goth. us , orig. meaning, out. See {Deal},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ORDEAL — ORDEAL, the generic term for the various ways and means by which divine judgment would be ascertained. The most common form of ordeal, which survived long into the Middle Ages and beyond, was entirely unknown to biblical as well as to later… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ordeal — index aggravation (annoyance), burden, infliction, nuisance, pain, trouble Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • Ordeal — Or de*al, a. Of or pertaining to trial by ordeal. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ordeal — may refer to The American title of What Happened to the Corbetts, a 1939 novel by Nevil Shute Trial by ordeal, the judicial practice This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an …   Wikipedia

  • ordeal — (n.) O.E. ordel, lit. judgment, verdict, from P.Gmc. noun *uzdailjam (Cf. O.S. urdeli, O.Fris. urdel, Du. oordeel, Ger. urteil judgment ), lit. that which is dealt out (by the gods), from *uzdailijan share out, related to O.E. adælan to deal out… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ordeal — [n] trouble, suffering affliction, agony, anguish, calamity, calvary, cross, crucible, difficulty, distress, nightmare, test, torment, torture, trial, tribulation, visitation; concepts 674,728 Ant. happiness, pleasure …   New thesaurus

  • ordeal — ► NOUN 1) a prolonged painful or horrific experience. 2) an ancient test of guilt or innocence in which the accused was subjected to severe pain, survival of which was taken as divine proof of innocence. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • ordeal — [ôr dēl′, ôr′dēl΄] n. [ME ordal < OE, akin to Ger urteil, judgment < WGmc * uzdailjo , what is dealt out < * uzdailjan, to deal out, allot, adjudge < * uz , out + * dailjan < * dails, a part, share] 1. an ancient method of trial in …   English World dictionary

  • ordeal — or|deal [o:ˈdi:l, ˈo:di:l US o:rˈdi:l, ˈo:rdi:l] n [: Old English; Origin: ordal trial, judgment ] a terrible or painful experience that continues for a period of time ordeal of ▪ She then had to go through the ordeal of giving evidence. ▪ She… …   Dictionary of contemporary English