cut·​lass ˈkət-ləs How to pronounce cutlass (audio)
: a short curving sword formerly used by sailors on warships

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Flashes of that larger story do shine through, and the book advances Graeber’s mission: to destabilize our idea of what’s possible and show that humans can, and often do, create egalitarian worlds built on points of consensus instead of the sharp end of a cutlass. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2023 The pipe’s walls, between 400 and 600 feet long, reach a vertiginous 22 feet, and its edges are cutlass sharp, leaving little to the eye but a cleaved sky. Nick Remsen, Vogue, 11 Feb. 2022 One, a nurse once driven from his home by Boko Haram, who lost everything but had found refuge in the estate, has started sleeping with a cutlass under his bed. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Marse, where the picong sharp like cutlass and cutting politician down to size and making fun of everything that taking itself too serious. M Nourbese Philip, Harper's BAZAAR, 16 Feb. 2021 The original had a leather-washer handle and a D-ring guard like a cutlass. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, 16 Feb. 2019 Creepy Jason’s full-back tattoo depicted a swashbuckling femme fatale, complete with cutlass and pistol, pirate hat, belts and, of course, an eyepatch. Catalina Righter,, 25 Sep. 2019 The waving of cutlasses in the narrow waters between Arabia and Iran was the moment when two different and competing approaches to Iran between Western allies crossed. Sam Kiley, CNN, 11 July 2019 All pirates start with a relatively beefy collection of items, including weapons (pistol, sniper rifle, cutlass), utilitarian items (compass, shovel, bucket), and goofy stuff (beer mug, pair of musical instruments). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 30 Jan. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cutlass.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French coutelas, augmentative of coutel knife, from Latin cultellus, diminutive of culter knife, plowshare

First Known Use

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cutlass was in 1584

Dictionary Entries Near cutlass

Cite this Entry

“Cutlass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


cut·​lass ˈkət-ləs How to pronounce cutlass (audio)
: a short curved sword

More from Merriam-Webster on cutlass

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