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 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., "Christianity's foray into India depicted in statue of missionary killed over monogamy," 20 Oct. 2020 The gathering was presided over by promoter Carlton Haney, a native Tar Heel with bushy, scimitar sideburns. Washington Post, "A filmmaker reissues what some consider the definitive bluegrass documentary, featuring the Osborne Brothers," 24 Aug. 2020 Since the blended winglet, API has developed a split-scimitar winglet, now seen on over 700 737NGs, notably Southwest and United Airlines. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "What’s in a Winglet?: Inside the Epic Quest To Build a Better Airplane Wing," 5 July 2020 Mariamman, on the other hand, carries a scimitar with which to smite and decapitate the demons of virulence and illness. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "India’s goddesses of contagion provide protection in the pandemic – just don’t make them angry," 15 June 2020 You probably won’t, but instead just grab the steak knife like a scimitar and get in there. Grace Wong,, "Craving: Indian food — from traditional to modern takes, tracking down Chicago’s best," 3 Oct. 2019 Quentin, wearing only a loincloth, is strapped into a restraining wooden contraption while a Muslim, identified by his beard, hooked nose and the scimitar hanging at his side, hammers a giant spike into the saint’s shoulder. Steven Litt,, "‘Medieval Monsters’ exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art surveys images used to inspire fear, hatred and wonder," 1 Sep. 2019 To me, a teenager in a half-slouch behind the counter at the bookstore, each page was an astonishment: raunchy and vicious and wild, all of it in prose sharp as a scimitar. David Canfield,, "Get a glimpse into Anthony Bourdain’s legacy in The Last Interview exclusive book excerpt," 19 Aug. 2019 At his feet is the lion, sleek, alert, tail curled like a scimitar, mouth opened wide in a growl. New York Times, "What Leonardo da Vinci Couldn’t Finish," 11 July 2019

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.

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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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Cite this Entry

“Scimitar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of scimitar

: a sword with a curved blade that was used in the past especially in the Middle East and western Asia

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