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[sis-truh m] /ˈsɪs trəm/
noun, plural sistrums, sistra
[sis-truh] /ˈsɪs trə/ (Show IPA)
an ancient Egyptian percussion instrument consisting of a looped metal frame set in a handle and fitted with loose crossbars that rattle when shaken.
Origin of sistrum
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek seîstron, derivative of seíein to shake (cf. seismic) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sistrum
Historical Examples
  • Among these were the sistrum, trumpet, double flute, and others.

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
  • They could hear the ringing of the sistrum bells and the murmuring chant of the priests.

    Cleopatra, Complete Georg Ebers
  • Figure 62 represents one of the forms assumed by the sistrum of Isis.

  • Of the drawings in it I need say nothing, and of the sistrum or sceptre only a few words.

    Ayesha H. Rider Haggard
  • Next moment she had recovered the sistrum and passed on with her head bowed.

    The Ancient Allan H. Rider Haggard
  • Women were great musicians, playing on many instruments, especially the sistrum, sacred to the goddess Hathor.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • Her blue eyes, filled with tears, were fixed on the sistrum which her weak, emaciated hands had hardly strength to hold.

  • Tachot seemed to notice this, for she raised her eyes from the sistrum and looked kindly and gratefully at the crowd.

  • Without speaking, the Hesea pointed with her sistrum to the Defender, who thereon broke the seal of his book and began to read.

    Ayesha H. Rider Haggard
  • One of these shows a ritual procession, apparently of reapers singing and dancing to the sound of a sistrum.

British Dictionary definitions for sistrum


noun (pl) -tra (-trə)
a musical instrument of ancient Egypt consisting of a metal rattle
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek seistron, from seiein to shake
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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