(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.
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- Plural: ordeals
- Also called trial by ordeal.
- political system
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How to Cite the Definition of Ordeal
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “ordeal.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 19, 2018 (http://sociologydictionary.org/ordeal/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
ordeal. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/ordeal/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “ordeal.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 19, 2018. http://sociologydictionary.org/ordeal/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“ordeal.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2018. <http://sociologydictionary.org/ordeal/>.