[ rey-pee-er ]
/ ˈreɪ pi ər /


a small sword, especially of the 18th century, having a narrow blade and used for thrusting.
a longer, heavier sword, especially of the 16th and 17th centuries, having a double-edged blade and used for slashing and thrusting.

Nearby words

  1. rapidly,
  2. rapidly advancing juvenile periodontitis,
  3. rapidness,
  4. rapido,
  5. rapids,
  6. rapine,
  7. rapini,
  8. rapist,
  9. rapoport test,
  10. rapp

Origin of rapier

1545–55; < Middle French (espee) rapiere literally, rasping (sword); see rape3

Related formsra·pi·ered, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for rapier

British Dictionary definitions for rapier


/ (ˈreɪpɪə) /


a long narrow two-edged sword with a guarded hilt, used as a thrusting weapon, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries
a smaller single-edged 18th-century sword, used principally in France
Derived Formsrapier-like, adjective

Word Origin for rapier

C16: from Old French espee rapiere, literally: rasping sword; see rasp 1

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 rapier



"light, sharp-pointed sword," 1550s, from Middle French rapière, from espee rapiere "long, pointed two-edged sword" (late 15c.), in which the adjective is of uncertain origin, perhaps from derisive use of raspiere "poker, scraper." Dutch, Danish rapier, German Rappier are from French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper