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[sep-ter] /ˈsɛp tər/
noun, verb (used with object), sceptred, sceptring. Chiefly British.


[sep-ter] /ˈsɛp tər/
a rod or wand borne in the hand as an emblem of regal or imperial power.
royal or imperial power or authority; sovereignty.
verb (used with object)
to give a scepter to; invest with authority.
Also, especially British, sceptre.
Origin of scepter
1250-1300; Middle English (s)ceptre < Old French < Latin scēptrum < Greek skêptron staff; akin to shaft
Related forms
scepterless, adjective
[sep-truh l] /ˈsɛp trəl/ (Show IPA),
unsceptered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sceptre
Historical Examples
  • And since his son is of an age too tender to wield the sceptre, the boy's mother does it in his name.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Who then should grasp the rich prize of the sceptre of France?

    Henry IV, Makers of History John S. C. Abbott
  • In one hand Zeus held the sceptre, and in the other a winged Victory.

  • Had she, with her own hands, given her crown and sceptre to another?

  • The sceptre must pass into other hands even more feeble than his.

  • But now the sceptre seemed torn from his hand—he was a king no more.

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • The sceptre of Solomon was paraded throughout the camp in solemn procession.

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • Gain the sceptre of Solomon, and I will agree to be your subject.

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • Fly on, great Time, and on thy coming wings bear me my sceptre!

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
  • Only think of David, a mere child, our David with the sceptre of Solomon!

    Alroy Benjamin Disraeli
British Dictionary definitions for sceptre


a ceremonial staff held by a monarch as the symbol of authority
imperial authority; sovereignty
(transitive) to invest with authority
Derived Forms
sceptred, (US) sceptered, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French sceptre, from Latin scēptrum, from Greek skeptron staff
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 sceptre

chiefly British English spelling of scepter (q.v.); for spelling, see -re. Related: Sceptred.



c.1300, ceptre, from Old French sceptre (12c.), from Latin sceptrum "royal staff," from Greek skeptron "staff to lean on; royal scepter;" in transferred use, "royalty," from root of skeptein "to prop or stay, lean on." Apparently a cognate with Old English sceaft (see shaft (n.1)). The verb meaning "to furnish with a scepter" is from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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