Crapaud means "the toad," but "a la crapaudine" means to cut open and broil. In this punishment, the prisoner is laid on his stomach and then his arms and feet are pulled together behind his back until they touch, causing his body to bend like a bow. This stress position caused the prisoner's joints to lock and his muscles to spasm, and the muscle pain often endured long after release.
It was officially abandoned in 1910, but continued to be used occasionally into the 1920s.
- Darius Rejali, Torture and Democracy (2009), 302-3