scim·​i·​tar | \ ˈsi-mə-tər How to pronounce scimitar (audio) , -ˌtär \

Definition of scimitar

: a saber having a curved blade with the edge on the convex side and used chiefly by Arabs and Turks

Examples of scimitar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Okra is sliced laterally into curving scimitar-like pieces, their open sides seared on a grill to add even more depth and crunch to the stew. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 June 2022 Designed to look like the scimitar swords of Qatar’s national seal, this waterfront landmark will include Fairmont and Raffles luxury hotels taking up either side of the sphere. Ramsey Qubein, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 Paleontologists don’t just define sabertooths by their flat scimitar fangs, but by other adaptations like the ability to shear meat with their cheek teeth, a groove in the lower jaw for their canine teeth to fit, and other feeding adaptations. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Mar. 2022 Checking for antibodies can be like checking whether your friend is carrying a scimitar. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021 The ancient scimitar cats might have brought mammoth take-out back to their secluded underground den to dine in peace. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2021 Homotherium was a lankier cat than Smilodon, with shorter scimitar teeth. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 June 2021 In the sculpture, he is shown holding the scimitar that killed him in one hand and a palm frond, symbolic of martyrdom, in the other., 20 Oct. 2020 The gathering was presided over by promoter Carlton Haney, a native Tar Heel with bushy, scimitar sideburns. Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of scimitar

1562, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scimitar

borrowed from Italian scimitarra (earlier also samitara, semitara, simitara), probably borrowed, by uncertain mediation, from Persian šamšer "sword, scimitar," going back to Middle Persian (Pahlavi) šamšēr (written šmšyl), šafšēr (written špšyl), Middle Persian (Manichaean) šafšēr, šefšēr (written šfšyr, š(y)pšyr), of obscure origin

Note: Many other variants exist in early Modern English, some, such as cimiter, reflecting Middle French cimiterre. The popular derivation as a compound of modern Persian šam "tail" or "claw" and šer "lion" has no etymological value, given the Middle Persian forms. Greek sampsḗra "a kind of sword of state," presumably borrowed from Persian, occurs in the Antiquitates Judaicae (ca. 94 A.D.) of Flavius Josephus. The Middle Persian word may be a borrowing, but a source is unknown. Old Iranian apparently lacks a word for "sword" (see W.W. Malandra, "A glossary of terms for weapons and armor in Old Iranian," Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 15, no. 4 [1973], pp. 264-89).

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The first known use of scimitar was in 1562

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Scilly, Isles of



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Last Updated

14 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Scimitar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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