Flagellation (Latin flagellum, “whip”), flogging, whipping or lashing is the act of methodically beating the human body with special implements such as whips, lashes, rods, switches, the cat o’ nine tails, the sjambok, etc. Typically, flogging is imposed on an unwilling subject as a punishment; however, it can also be submitted to willingly, or performed on oneself, in religious or sadomasochistic contexts.
In some circumstances the word “flogging” is used loosely to include any sort of corporal punishment, including birching and caning. However, in British legal terminology, a distinction was drawn (and still is, in one or two colonial territories) between “flogging” (with a cat-o’-nine-tails) and “whipping” (formerly with a whip, but since the early 19th century with a birch). In Britain these were both abolished in 1948.