• synonyms


[puhm-uh l, pom-]
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  1. a knob, as on the hilt of a sword.
  2. the protuberant part at the front and top of a saddle.
  3. Architecture. a spherical ornament or finial.
  4. Gymnastics. either of the two curved handles on the top surface of a side horse.
verb (used with object), pom·meled, pom·mel·ing or (especially British) pom·melled, pom·mel·ling.
  1. to beat or strike with or as if with the fists or a pommel.
Also pummel.

Origin of pommel

1300–50; (noun) Middle English pomel < Middle French, derivative of Old French pom hilt of a sword < Latin pōmum fruit; see pome, -elle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pommel

Historical Examples

  • No maker's name, but the date 1638 is stamped upon the pommel.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • He threw a leg over the pommel of his saddle and the three men halted in a group.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • De Spain raised his right hand from his thigh to the pommel of his saddle.

    Nan of Music Mountain

    Frank H. Spearman

  • He had clenched his teeth and clung to the pommel desperately.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine

  • She turned and put her hand on the pommel, and sprang into the saddle.

    The Mermaid</p>

    Lily Dougall

British Dictionary definitions for pommel


  1. the raised part on the front of a saddle
  2. a knob at the top of a sword or similar weapon
verb -mels, -melling or -melled or US -mels, -meling or -meled
  1. a less common word for pummel

Word Origin

C14: from Old French pomel knob, from Vulgar Latin pōmellum (unattested) little apple, from Latin pōmum apple
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

Word Origin and History for pommel


mid-13c., "ornamental knob;" c.1300, "knob at the end of a sword hilt," from Old French pomel (12c., Modern French pommeau), "rounded knob," diminutive of pom "hilt of a sword," from Late Latin pomellum, diminutive of Latin pomum "apple" (see Pomona), the connecting notion being "roundness." Sense of "front peak of a saddle" first recorded mid-15c. In Middle English poetry it also sometimes meant a woman's breast. The gymnast's pommel horse is attested from 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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