(in ancient Rome) one of a body of attendants on chief magistrates, who preceded them carrying the fasces and whose duties included executing the sentences of criminals.

Origin of lictor

1580–90; < Latin; compare Middle English littoures
Related formslic·to·ri·an [lik-tawr-ee-uh n, -tohr-] /lɪkˈtɔr i ən, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lictor

Historical Examples of lictor

  • The lictor cried, "Sentence has been given," and bade Icilius give place.

    Stories From Livy

    Alfred Church

  • The Chief Lictor had distributed these torches with an unheard-of liberality.

    The Crisis, Complete

    Winston Churchill

  • By testament, by the census, and by the vindicta, or lictor's rod.

    Dissertation on Slavery

    St. George Tucker.

  • I'll a lictor straight despatch, To seize on her, for she belongs to me.Oppius.

    Virginia, A Tragedy

    Marion Forster Gilmore

  • Lictor, apostrophised by Cassiodorus in his 'Indulgentia,' xi.

    The Letters of Cassiodorus

    Cassiodorus (AKA Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator)

British Dictionary definitions for lictor



one of a group of ancient Roman officials, usually bearing fasces, who attended magistrates, etc

Word Origin for lictor

C16 lictor, C14 littour, from Latin ligāre to bind
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 lictor

late 14c., from Latin lictor, literally "binder," from past participle stem of *ligere "to bind, collect," collateral form of ligare (see ligament).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper