\ ˈsīṯẖ How to pronounce scythe (audio) , ˈsī How to pronounce scythe (audio) \

Definition of scythe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an implement used for mowing grass, grain, or other crops and composed of a long curving blade fastened at an angle to a long handle


scythed; scything

Definition of scythe (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to use a scythe

transitive verb

: to cut with or as if with a scythe scything cornstalks

Illustration of scythe

Illustration of scythe


In the meaning defined above

Examples of scythe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun How the enemy could be the wind or a crowd, or how a farmer could be forced to cut wheat that isn’t wheat at all with his giant scythe. Shannon Doyne, New York Times, "What Is the Best Book a Teacher Ever Recommended to You?," 11 May 2020 Since the night of February 7, whole publications have fallen to the scythe. Shawn Yuan, Wired, "Inside the Early Days of China’s Coronavirus Coverup," 1 May 2020 There’s an old Russian proverb: The tallest blade of grass is the first cut by the scythe. Carl Weiser,, "For New York Times readers, Ohio's senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown speak for a polarized America," 6 Feb. 2020 Within half an hour, at least two dozen African American men and women, armed with pistols, shotguns, corn cutters and scythes, arrived to assist the Parkers. James Delle, Smithsonian Magazine, "In 1851, a Maryland Farmer Tried to Kidnap Free Blacks in Pennsylvania. He Wasn’t Expecting the Neighborhood to Fight Back," 17 Jan. 2020 Cyrus received a tattoo of a bleeding heart punctured by a dagger, while Simpson went for a skull and crossbones plus an ominous-looking scythe. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson Just Added More Tattoos to Their Collections," 2 Dec. 2019 Along the sanctuary’s walls are pictures of Christian saints as well as many images of death personified, grim reapers holding scythes, reminiscent of cover art of an Iron Maiden album. David Hammond,, "Celebrating Day of the Dead — and an eternal fascination with skeletons — in Mexico City," 17 Oct. 2019 Simpson’s chest ink featured a skull and crossbones line, with the grim reaper scythe’s underneath. Claudia Harmata,, "Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson Hang Out with Her Sister Noah and Mom Tish as She Calls Him 'My Baby'," 2 Nov. 2019 Wayne Cassell dressed in a hooded black cloak, covered his face with black cloth and carried a scythe to complete a grim reaper costume. Pamela Wood,, "Trump visit draws protesters, supporters to Baltimore," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The virus is scything through its aged population and its hospitals are straining from a rush of patients. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Italy is a test of how a Western economy bear an almost-total shutdown," 12 Mar. 2020 But its explosive power gives it the muscle of a gas-engine machine for mowing down the tall stuff and scything through weeds and saplings. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "The Popular Mechanics 2020 Tool Awards," 18 Mar. 2020 Canalys, starting from a similar estimate for 2019, scythes its expectations down to 42.5 million shipments. Fortune, "Apple’s iPhone maker expects its China plants to be operating normally within weeks," 3 Mar. 2020 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was meant to scythe-down Jim Crow and the evils of racial discrimination. Richard Aldous, WSJ, "‘The Age of Entitlement’ Review: The Dividing Line," 17 Jan. 2020 Prop Moody's marauding run set the tone before Barrett scythed his way through the Welsh defence to dot down under the posts on 13 minutes. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "All Blacks run rampant against Wales to end Rugby World Cup on a high," 1 Nov. 2019 Swimming in the bay of St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, the water like a velvet blanket scythed apart by my hands; seeking sea urchins, anticipating their sweet-briny softness, wearing my metal gloves, carrying my knife. Melinda Stevens, Condé Nast Traveler, "Condé Nast Traveler Editor's Letter: How Travel Gets Us Out of Our Head," 8 Oct. 2019 Arguments about states’ rights or fantasies of antebellum gentility were scythed by her storytelling. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Toni Morrison not only remade American literature, she challenged us to resist the tenacity of racism," 6 Aug. 2019 In the final minute of the contest, Houghton was scythed down by a brutal Takounda lunge, the striker catching her opponent with studs on the upper shin., "Women's World Cup Roundup: England See Off Hostile Cameroon as France Leave it Late Against Brazil," 23 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scythe.' 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 scythe


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1580, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for scythe


Middle English sithe, from Old English sīthe; akin to Old English sagu saw — more at saw

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Time Traveler for scythe

Time Traveler

The first known use of scythe was before the 12th century

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Statistics for scythe

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scythe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for scythe


How to pronounce scythe (audio) How to pronounce scythe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scythe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a farming tool with a curved blade and long handle that is used for cutting grass, grain, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of scythe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cut (something, such as grass or grain) with a scythe


\ ˈsīt͟h How to pronounce scythe (audio) \

Kids Definition of scythe

: a tool with a curved blade on a long curved handle that is used to mow grass or grain by hand

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More from Merriam-Webster on scythe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scythe

Spanish Central: Translation of scythe

Nglish: Translation of scythe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scythe for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scythe

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