strig·​il ˈstri-jəl How to pronounce strigil (audio)
: an instrument used by ancient Greeks and Romans for scraping moisture off the skin after bathing or exercising

Illustration of strigil

Illustration of strigil

Examples of strigil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web How ancient Egyptian cosmetics influenced our beauty rituals Among the other items on show are a strigil (skin scraper), perfume bottles, jet and bone jewelery, make-up applicators and amulets for warding off evil. Lianne Kolirin, CNN, 8 June 2023 Another holds a sponge for oils and a strigil, an instrument for scraping oil and sweat from the body. Tom Mashberg, New York Times, 19 Apr. 2023 Instead, the Romans’ post-bath ritual involved anointing the body with oils and scraping excess grease away with a metal or reed tool known as a strigil. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Aug. 2020 As the study notes, the site also yielded two pairs of shoes; fragments of glass vessels; a bronze coin dated to between 198 and 217 A.D.; and a strigil, or curved blade used to scrape oil and dirt off one’s skin. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 1 Oct. 2019 Among the trove were two strigils, blunt hooks that Romans used to clean themselves and wipe off oil while bathing and that athletes used to scrape away sweat. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 13 June 2018 In fact, the strigil was considered the symbol of an athlete in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 13 June 2018 See More

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

Word History


Latin strigilis; akin to Latin stringere to touch lightly

First Known Use

1581, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of strigil was in 1581

Dictionary Entries Near strigil

Cite this Entry

“Strigil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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