[ fas-eez ]
/ ˈfæs iz /

noun (usually used with a singular verb)

a bundle of rods containing an ax with the blade projecting, borne before Roman magistrates as an emblem of official power.

Nearby words

  1. farthingale chair,
  2. fartlek,
  3. faruk i,
  4. fas,
  5. fasb,
  6. fasching,
  7. fascia,
  8. fascia adherens,
  9. fascia graft,
  10. fasciate

Origin of fasces

1590–1600; < Latin, plural of fascis bundle, pack

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fasces

British Dictionary definitions for fasces


/ (ˈfæsiːz) /

pl n singular -cis (-sɪs)

(in ancient Rome) one or more bundles of rods containing an axe with its blade protruding; a symbol of a magistrate's power
(in modern Italy) such an object used as the symbol of Fascism

Word Origin for fasces

C16: from Latin, plural of fascis bundle

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 fasces



1590s, from Latin fasces "bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade projecting" (plural of fascis "bundle" of wood, etc.), perhaps from PIE *bhasko- "band, bundle" (cf. Middle Irish basc "neckband," Welsh baich "load, burden," Old English bæst "inner bark of the linden tree"). Carried before a lictor, a superior Roman magistrate, as a symbol of power over life and limb: the sticks symbolized punishment by whipping, the axe head execution by beheading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper