scyt·​a·​le | \ ˈsitᵊl(ˌ)ē \
plural -s

Definition of scytale

1 : a method of cipher writing used especially by the Spartans in which a narrow strip of parchment was wound on a rod and the message written across the adjoining edges
2a : a message written in the scytale cipher
b : a parchment bearing such a message

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History and Etymology for scytale

Latin scytale, scytala, scutula, from Greek skytalē staff, cylinder, message

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Cite this Entry

“Scytale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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