noun, verb (used with object), sa·bred, sa·bring. Chiefly British.




a heavy, one-edged sword, usually slightly curved, used especially by cavalry.
a soldier armed with such a sword.
  1. a sword having two cutting edges and a blunt point.
  2. the art or sport of fencing with the saber, with the target being limited to the head, trunk, and arms, and hits being made with the front edge and the upper part of the back edge of the sword and by thrusts.

verb (used with object)

to strike, wound, or kill with a saber.
Also especially British, sa·bre.

Origin of saber

1670–80; < French sabre, sable < German Sabel (now Säbel), earlier sewel, schebel < Polish szabla; compare Czech šavle, Serbo-Croatian sȁblja, Russian sáblya sword, saber, perhaps all ultimately < Hungarian szablya, though derivation and transmission uncertain
Related formssa·ber·like, adjectiveun·sa·bered, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sabre

Contemporary Examples of sabre

Historical Examples of sabre

  • The Federal's pistol slid into its holster and his sabre flashed out.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • My sabre and gun I placed in a corner, my pistols I laid on the table.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • He waves his sabre, shouts, and hurls himself forward with his eyes shut.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • He rose to his full height, standing before her with both hands on his sabre.

    Father Sergius

    Leo Tolstoy

  • A man on horseback, with a sabre at his side, was in the midst of them.

British Dictionary definitions for sabre


US saber


a stout single-edged cavalry sword, having a curved blade
a sword used in fencing, having a narrow V-shaped blade, a semicircular guard, and a slightly curved hand
a cavalry soldier


(tr) to injure or kill with a sabre

Word Origin for sabre

C17: via French from German (dialect) Sabel, from Middle High German sebel, perhaps from Magyar száblya; compare Russian sablya sabre


noun, verb

the US spelling of sabre
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 sabre

see saber.



type of single-edged sword, 1670s, from French sabre "heavy, curved sword" (17c.), alteration of sable (1630s), from German Sabel, Säbel, probably ultimately from Hungarian szablya "saber," literally "tool to cut with," from szabni "to cut."

The Balto-Slavic words (cf. Russian sablya, Polish szabla "sword, saber," Lithuanian shoble) perhaps also are from German. Italian sciabla seems to be directly from Hungarian. Saber-rattling "militarism" is attested from 1922. Saber-toothed cat (originally tiger) is attested from 1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper