The permanent and painful marking of a human, generally using hot metal on the flesh, in a specific design or symbol, as is done to livestock by farmers.
To use assorted hot metal, shaped in various patterns or designs, to signify ownership of another person by one. This can involve more than one piece of metal being applied, after being heated to high temperatures.
Has been used throughout history, to signify ownership of livestock as well as humans, when slavery was a common practice.
It involved the marking of the person, with the 'owner's' symbol or brand. This could be a simple design, or an intricate one, involving the use of several pieces of metal.
The Nazis were the most noted for using such tactics, in their branding of Jews with numbers on their arms.
History (Legend): During the war, the Nazi's also branded selected soldiers, under their arms. These brands were simply the letters associated with particular blood types.
It was done to help insure proper medical treatment when the soldier was injured or their dog tags were lost. This was used mainly by the elite corp, the Waffen S.S.
As these marks are permanent, it was also used after WWII to help the Allies identify soldiers of this particular elite group, which was also noted for its brutality and treatment of Jews.
Branding is a painful marking, and while is consensual, it is not a widely practiced feature of most, including the BDSM culture. Though in some extreme factions, it is still used, to designate a submissive as the property of the dominant.
It is also used as a form of punishment.
All such 'branding' is agreed upon, among the participants, and forms part of their contract. (see RACK and SSC)
Various metal pieces, are fashioned into a symbol or design that is then heated, and applied to the flesh. It is done in similar fashion to how an animal is marked, such as Horses and Cows.
Practice (Associated Acts): Part of the Body Art or Body Modification Scene, but on a much more extreme measure. In some instances, tattoos are considered a form of 'human branding' but without the burning pain.
Branding is more in reference to the marking being done by applying hot metal, while Tattoos are done by a specific machine. While arguably just as painful, it is not true Branding.
Noteworthy: It is rumored that while President of his local fraternity at Yale, now President, George W. Bush of the United States, was involved in instituting a program, where new pledges were made to strip, then have a heated coat hanger, formed in the shape of the symbol for the fraternity (a capital delta), applied to their bare cheeks.
Part of the hazing ritual in some colleges. This is where the logo or symbol of a specific fraternity is branded onto the applicant. Usually done on the fleshy buttocks.
Many notorious street gangs will also use this form, as entry requirements of new members. While most use Tattoos, there are some who insist on actual branding.
Prison inmates are also noted for using branding to mark their bodies, but for various reasons. Some to simply prove their toughness, others to show their allegiance to a group or gang, and others as belonging to another inmate.