Knout (properly Knut), the Russian word for whip, and the name of an instrument of punishment formerly in use in Russia. The culprit was bound to two stakes, and received on his bare back the specified number of lashes from a whip of plaited thongs interwoven with wire; 100 to 120 lashes were considered equivalent to a sentence of death. The whipping was inflicted by the hands of a convict respited from Siberia and kept in prison for that purpose. If a culprit survived this punishment, he was banished for life to Siberia. In earlier times the nose was slit, the ears were cut off, and the letter V, for vor (rogue), was branded on the forehead; but this aggravation was abolished by Alexander I. The nobility were legally exempt from the knout, but the privilege was not always respected. The punishment was inflicted on the worst class of criminals, but now and then also on political offenders. The knout was abolished by the emperor Nicholas, who substituted the pleti, a kind of lash.