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noun, verb (used with object), scep·tred, scep·tring. Chiefly British.
  1. scepter.
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  1. a rod or wand borne in the hand as an emblem of regal or imperial power.
  2. royal or imperial power or authority; sovereignty.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to give a scepter to; invest with authority.
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Also especially British, scep·tre.

Origin of scepter

1250–1300; Middle English (s)ceptre < Old French < Latin scēptrum < Greek skêptron staff; akin to shaft
Related formsscep·ter·less, adjectivescep·tral [sep-truh l] /ˈsɛp trəl/, adjectiveun·scep·tered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sceptre

shaft, cylinder, cane, ingot, pin, baton, stick, slab, scepter, wand, billet, stave, mace, strip, switch, dowel, spike, staff, sceptre, birch

Examples from the Web for sceptre

Historical Examples of sceptre

  • And since his son is of an age too tender to wield the sceptre, the boy's mother does it in his name.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Who then should grasp the rich prize of the sceptre of France?

  • In one hand Zeus held the sceptre, and in the other a winged Victory.

  • Had she, with her own hands, given her crown and sceptre to another?

  • The sceptre must pass into other hands even more feeble than his.

British Dictionary definitions for sceptre


US scepter

  1. a ceremonial staff held by a monarch as the symbol of authority
  2. imperial authority; sovereignty
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  1. (tr) to invest with authority
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Derived Formssceptred or US sceptered, adjective

Word Origin for sceptre

C13: from Old French sceptre, from Latin scēptrum, from Greek skeptron staff
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 sceptre

chiefly British English spelling of scepter (q.v.); for spelling, see -re. Related: Sceptred.

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c.1300, ceptre, from Old French sceptre (12c.), from Latin sceptrum "royal staff," from Greek skeptron "staff to lean on; royal scepter;" in transferred use, "royalty," from root of skeptein "to prop or stay, lean on." Apparently a cognate with Old English sceaft (see shaft (n.1)). The verb meaning "to furnish with a scepter" is from 1520s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper