cen·​tu·​ri·​on | \ sen-ˈchu̇r-ē-ən How to pronounce centurion (audio) , -ˈtyu̇r-, -ˈtu̇r-\

Definition of centurion

: an officer commanding a Roman century

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Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, a century was approximately equal to a company in the U.S. Army, and a centurion was roughly equivalent to a captain. Centurions play a role in the New Testament; Jesus performs a miracle for a centurion in Capernaum, centurions are present at the crucifixion, and in later years St. Paul is arrested by centurions. According to a writer of the time, centurions were chosen for their size and strength, their abilities at swordplay and at throwing missiles, and the quality of their discipline, which was partly shown by how well their soldiers kept their own armor polished.

Examples of centurion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With the guidance of an instructor, venture into an arena to safely train and fight other new centurions—and feel the thrill of handling your own wooden sword and shield. National Geographic, "Italy Family Journey: Venice to Rome," 12 June 2019 There’s an earthy duet for Dores André and Luke Ingham, a corps garbed like centurions, a fellow (Wei Wang) in chalky white makeup, alternately toting a gold fishing rod and standing on his head and a general air of decadence. Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle, "Pita’s ‘Bjork Ballet’ a stunning work in S.F. Ballet’s final Unbound program," 27 Apr. 2018 And the lashing of Jesus — not by a single centurion but by a large section of the ensemble, taking turns in a sequence choreographed by Camille A. Brown with fierce vigor — was shattering. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert': TV Review," 2 Apr. 2018 As the group snaked through the dark hallway of the church building, members encountered some artisans and a pair of centurions. Carol Kovach, cleveland.com, "Church of the Redeemer in Westlake helps travelers 'Journey to Bethlehem'," 19 Dec. 2017 Dipping into this power, corner to corner, hairpin to edge, felt like riding the lashing, leaded tip of a centurion’s whip. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Ferrari 812 Superfast: The Italian Icon Lives On," 17 Aug. 2017 The firm has also set up different companies that rent out other characters, including the Clown Collector and Roman Collection, where centurions show up. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Spain Has a Debt Problem and So Now It Has a Zorro Problem," 27 July 2017 For example, at Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre, centurion Marcus Aurelius Nepos tells about England’s bloody combat history at the spot. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Five Augmented Reality Experiences That Bring Museum Exhibits to Life," 29 June 2017 Though his origin story is murky, he is said to have been an Armenian martyred in fourth-century Turkey while serving as a Roman centurion. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "The (almost) true legend of St. Expedite in New Orleans," 19 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'centurion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of centurion

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for centurion

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin centurion-, centurio, from centuria

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Statistics for centurion

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for centurion

The first known use of centurion was before the 12th century

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More from Merriam-Webster on centurion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with centurion

Britannica English: Translation of centurion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about centurion

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