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[rey-pee-er] /ˈreɪ pi ər/
a small sword, especially of the 18th century, having a narrow blade and used for thrusting.
a longer, heavier sword, especially of the 16th and 17th centuries, having a double-edged blade and used for slashing and thrusting.
Origin of rapier
1545-55; < Middle French (espee) rapiere literally, rasping (sword); see rape3
Related forms
rapiered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rapier
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I placed my rapier on the table and waited for him to speak.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • If your friend desire the sword, I have no objection,—I mean the rapier.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore Charles James Lever
  • The man with his face to me tossed his rapier impatiently into a corner.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Strickland employed not the rapier of sarcasm but the bludgeon of invective.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
  • If it were not for the Princess I would feed my rapier with him.

    The False Chevalier William Douw Lighthall
  • But M'Iver fixed him with an eye that pricked like a rapier.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
  • The deep eyes that met his steadily had in them the rapier flash.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
  • They might have been compared to a rapier and a two-handed broadsword.

    The Highgrader William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for rapier


a long narrow two-edged sword with a guarded hilt, used as a thrusting weapon, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries
a smaller single-edged 18th-century sword, used principally in France
Derived Forms
rapier-like, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Old French espee rapiere, literally: rasping sword; see rasp1
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
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Word Origin and History for rapier

"light, sharp-pointed sword," 1550s, from Middle French rapière, from espee rapiere "long, pointed two-edged sword" (late 15c.), in which the adjective is of uncertain origin, perhaps from derisive use of raspiere "poker, scraper." Dutch, Danish rapier, German Rappier are from French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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