(noun) A painful or dangerous method of trial controlled by supernatural forces that proves a person’s guilt or innocence through divine judgement in which survival or degree of injury typically indicates innocence.

Example: Bisha’a, a ritual ordeal to determine if a person is lying used by some Bedouin tribes. Judgement is based on a person licking a hot metal object three times in which a burnt tongue is an indication of a person’s guilt.

Audio Pronunciation: (or·deal)

Download Audio Pronunciation: ordeal.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: ordeals
  • Also called trial by ordeal.

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