FERRULE, a small metal cap or ring used for holding parts of a rod, &c., together, and for giving strength to weakened materials, or especially, when attached to the end of a stick, umbrella, &c., for preventing wearing or splitting. The word is properly verrel or verril, in which form it was used till the 18th century, and is derived through the O. Fr. virelle, modern virole, from a Latin diminutive viriola of viriae, bracelets. The form in which the word is now known is due to the influence of Latin ferrum, iron. "Ferrule" must be distinguished from "ferule" or "ferula," properly the Latin name of the "giant fennel." From the use of the stalk of this plant as a cane or rod for punishment, comes the application of the word to many instruments used in chastisement, more particularly a short flat piece of wood or leather shaped somewhat like the sole of a boot, and applied to the palms of the hand. It is the common form of disciplinary instrument in Roman Catholic schools; the pain inflicted is exceedingly sharp and immediate, but the effects are momentary and leave no chance for any dangerous results. The word is sometimes applied to the ordinary cane as used by schoolmasters.
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