Fossa et Furca

[pit and gallows ]. An ancient privilege granted by the Crown to its vassals, to cast female felons into a ditch, and hang male ones on a gallows.

According to Wharton (Law Dictionary), this furca is not the Latin word, but the Hebrew farkah, to divide. Hence also the servile tenure called Furcam et Flagellum.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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