Water ordeal

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Related to Water ordeal: trial by ordeal

WATER ORDEAL. An ancient form of trial, now abolished, by which the accused, tied band and foot, were cast into cold water, and if they did not sink they were deemed innocent or they were compelled to plunge their limbs into hot water, and if they came out unhurt they were considered innocent. Vide Ordeal.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The cold water ordeal dispensed with the hot stuff in favor of a tepid pool.
Frithogar isn't, so the court orders him to the hot water ordeal.
Cold water ordeal instructions gave priests opportunity for manipulation, too.
In the hot water ordeal, Hincmar informs us, "The guilty are scalded and the innocent are unhurt, because Lot escaped unharmed from the fire of Sodom." In the cold water ordeal, the guilty float because anyone who "seeks to hide the truth by a lie, cannot be submerged in the waters above which the voice of the Lord God has thundered."
Sixteen defendants underwent cold water ordeals; 14 passed.