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[sahyth] /saɪð/
an agricultural implement consisting of a long, curving blade fastened at an angle to a handle, for cutting grass, grain, etc., by hand.
verb (used with object), scythed, scything.
to cut or mow with a scythe.
Origin of scythe
before 900; Middle English sith, Old English sīthe, earlier sigdi; cognate with Old Norse sigthr; spelling sc by pseudoetymological association with Latin scindere to cut or with scissors
Related forms
scytheless, adjective
scythelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scythe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • His ankle had struck the back of the blade, then his foot had turned and met the edge of the scythe.

    Airship Andy Frank V. Webster
  • Grass on a clod of earth Scorned even by the passing reaper's scythe.

    Life Immovable Kostes Palamas
  • All the pictures of Time represent him with a scythe to cut, but I never saw any picture of Time with a case of medicines to heal.

    New Tabernacle Sermons Thomas De Witt Talmage
  • I dunno 'bout the scythe but I'm a good deal sharper'n I wuz.

    Eben Holden Irving Bacheller
  • In a moment a grinning skeleton stood in the center of the hall waving a scythe.

  • Time, the inexorable, does not threaten him with the scythe so often as with the sand-bag.

    Over the Teacups Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • A second time the English veterans advanced—a second time their front ranks fell like grass before a scythe.

  • Somebody had run a great knife like a scythe or a corn-cutter through her.

    Mitch Miller Edgar Lee Masters
British Dictionary definitions for scythe


a manual implement for cutting grass, etc, having a long handle held with both hands and a curved sharpened blade that moves in a plane parallel to the ground
(transitive) to cut (grass, etc) with a scythe
Derived Forms
scythelike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sigthe; related to Old Norse sigthr, Old High German segansa
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 scythe

Old English siðe, sigði, from Proto-Germanic *segithoz (cf. Middle Low German segede, Middle Dutch sichte, Old High German segensa, German Sense), from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (see section (n.)). The sc- spelling crept in early 15c., from influence of Latin scissor "carver, cutter" and scindere "to cut." Cf. French scier "saw," a false spelling from sier.


1570s, "use a scythe;" 1590s "to mow;" from scythe (n.). From 1897 as "move with the sweeping motion of a scythe." Related: Scythed; scything.


1570s, "use a scythe;" 1590s "to mow;" from scythe (n.). From 1897 as "move with the sweeping motion of a scythe." Related: Scythed; scything.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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