Boot, an article of dress, generally of leather, covering the foot and extending to a greater or less distance up the leg. Hence the name was given to an instrument of torture made of iron, or a combination of iron and wood, fastened on to the leg, between which and the boot wedges were introduced and driven in by repeated blows of a mallet, with such violence as to crush both muscles and bones. The special object of this form of torture was to extort a confession of guilt from an accused person.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.