any extremely severe or trying test, experience, or trial.
a primitive form of trial to determine guilt or innocence by subjecting the accused person to fire, poison, or other serious danger, the result being regarded as a divine or preternatural judgment.
a severe or trying experience
(history) a method of trial in which the guilt or innocence of an accused person was determined by subjecting him to physical danger, esp by fire or water. The outcome was regarded as an indication of divine judgment