or cut·las

[ kuht-luh s ]
/ ˈkʌt ləs /


a short, heavy, slightly curved sword with a single cutting edge, formerly used by sailors.

Nearby words

  1. cutis plate,
  2. cutis rhomboidalis nuchae,
  3. cutis vera,
  4. cutis verticis gyrata,
  5. cutisector,
  6. cutlass fish,
  7. cutlassfish,
  8. cutler,
  9. cutler, manasseh,
  10. cutlery

Origin of cutlass

1585–95; earlier coutelace < Middle French coutelas, equivalent to coutel knife (French couteau) (< Latin cultellus; see cultellus) + -as augmentative suffix; cognate with Italian coltellaccio big knife; cf. curtalax Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cutlass

British Dictionary definitions for cutlass


/ (ˈkʌtləs) /


a curved, one-edged sword formerly used by sailors

Word Origin for cutlass

C16: from French coutelas, from coutel knife, from Latin cultellus a small knife, from culter knife; see coulter

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 cutlass



1590s, from Middle French coutelas (16c.), probably from Italian coltellaccio "large knife" (with augmentative suffix -accio), from coltello "knife," from Latin cultellus "small knife," diminutive of culter "knife, plowshare," from PIE *kel-tro-, from root *(s)kel- "to cut" (see scale (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper