Whips are a kind of weapon in Tolkien Mythology and are mostly used to inflict suffering.
They consist of a long cord usually made of leather and a handle usually made of shaped wood, the only exception being the fiery whips used by balrogs in which case they may be made of something else; something eerie like fire and shadow.
Whips are generally not lethal unless made to be so.
Whips are favored by the orcs and are generally used to keep prisoners and slaves, or perhaps even insubordinate members of their own kind under control.
The balrogs of Morgoth use fiery whips in battle in concert with other weapons that they use.
- Whips at the wikipedia