scim·​i·​tar ˈsi-mə-tər How to pronounce scimitar (audio)
: 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 His sleepy eyes, scimitar nose, and pronounced chin made his face a caricaturist’s dream. Mark Feeney,, 21 July 2023 The Katara Towers, the near-circular building modeled on the scimitar swords that make up Qatar’s emblem, play host to two luxury hotels, the Fairmont Doha and the all-suite Raffles Doha, the country’s first six-star hotel. Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey, CNN, 24 Apr. 2023 Each occupies one half of the 300,000 square meter building, which is designed to resemble a pair of Qatari crossed scimitars. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 23 Mar. 2023 This hierarchy of killers and deceivers employs switcheroo treachery and brutality, implementing various blades, daggers, scimitars, and cleavers. Armond White, National Review, 22 Mar. 2023 The slab contained huge scimitar fins. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 18 Feb. 2010 Riot gear meets scimitar in the streets of Verona, where the civil war between the Montagues and the Capulets has technically ended but hostilities persist in a musical no man’s land. Charles McNultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2022 For hundreds of thousands of years, Neanderthals survived harsh climates with bitterly cold temperatures — not to mention predators including scimitar cats and cave lions — using simple tools and primitive clothing. Theodora Sutcliffe, Discover Magazine, 26 May 2016 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 See More

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

Word History


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).

First Known Use

1562, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scimitar was in 1562

Dictionary Entries Near scimitar

Cite this Entry

“Scimitar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


scim·​i·​tar ˈsim-ət-ər How to pronounce scimitar (audio)
: a sword with a curved blade used in the past especially in the Middle East and western Asia

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