Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


or cutlas

[kuht-luh s] /ˈkʌt ləs/
a short, heavy, slightly curved sword with a single cutting edge, formerly used by sailors.
Origin of cutlass
1585-95; earlier coutelace < Middle French coutelas, equivalent to coutel knife (French couteau) (< Latin cultellus; see cultellus) + -as augmentative suffix; cognate with Italian coltellaccio big knife; cf. curtalax Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cutlass
Historical Examples
  • Two men he shot down, and ran another through with his cutlass before he received a severe wound, disabling his sword-arm.

  • To keep their piece, pistols, and cutlass clean, and fit for service.

  • Those who had landed with the kegs were all armed with pistol and cutlass, and the countrymen had heavy sticks and bludgeons.

    With Wolfe in Canada G. A. Henty
  • I wonder how much it would cost a fellow to buy a cutlass—a real one?

    Theo Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • He had a cutlass, and they had wooden lances; with which, being many of them, they were too hard for him.

    A Voyage to New Holland William Dampier
  • The admiral had drawn the cutlass of Pedro Lafitte, and was darting upon him.

  • The two adversaries now confronted each other, cutlass in hand.

    A Winter Amid the Ice Jules Verne
  • He had a cutlass and they had wooden lances, with which, being many of them, they were too hard for him.

    Early Australian Voyages John Pinkerton
  • “They are not much accustomed to having prisoners,” he said, with a half-laugh, as he replaced the cutlass beneath the table.

    In the King's Name George Manville Fenn
  • It was an awful rush, but Hockins stood like a rock with the cutlass pointed.

    The Fugitives R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for cutlass


a curved, one-edged sword formerly used by sailors
Word Origin
C16: from French coutelas, from coutel knife, from Latin cultellus a small knife, from culter knife; see coulter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cutlass

1590s, from Middle French coutelas (16c.), probably from Italian coltellaccio "large knife" (with augmentative suffix -accio), from coltello "knife," from Latin cultellus "small knife," diminutive of culter "knife, plowshare," from PIE *kel-tro-, from root *(s)kel- "to cut" (see scale (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cutlass

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cutlass

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for cutlass