I was watching passion of Christ and there's a scene when Jesus is whipped very badly before being crucified. I was wondering what you'd call one of those big brawny guys with the whip. Maybe punishers? Whippers? They can't be executioners can they?


3 Answers 3


It depends on the situation


a resident executioner would also administer non-lethal physical punishments, or apply torture.

Wikipedia: Executioner

This seems to be more of a full time job, where the local, well-trained executioner (who carried out a death sentence) would also carry out other punishments, possibly such as whipping or flogging.


An inquisitor was an official (usually with judicial or investigative functions) in an Inquisition

Wikipedia: Inquisitor

The inquisitor was more of an administrator in the room, while the people carrying out the actual torture may have been anyone operating under the inquisitor.

(Jail) Torturer

These articles refer to the people who carried out the punishment as a "torturer":

Working as a jail torturer ruined my life | Independent

What were the criteria for hiring torturers in medieval Europe? | Quora


The Roman officials who carried out floggings were known as Lictors.

The Encyclopedia Britannica definition:

Lictor, plural lictors or lictores, member of an ancient Roman class of magisterial attendants, probably Etruscan in origin and dating in Rome from the regal period. Lictors carried the fasces for their magistrate and were constantly in his attendance in public; they cleared his way in crowds and summoned and punished offenders for him.

  • Worth noting that this word would not be known to the vast majority of English speakers.
    – James K
    Apr 30, 2020 at 5:14

A few whipping-specific words come to mind: flogger, scourger, and flagellator, all nouns formed from verbs.

scourge v
2a. :to punish severely

flog v
1a. : to beat with or as if with a rod or whip

flagellate v
2 : to drive or punish as if by whipping

Definitions from Merriam-Webster Online

All have the additional benefit of being (ultimately) derived from Latin, the language of the Roman soldiers who did the scourging in that film.

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