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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

Examples from the Web for sceptre

Historical Examples

  • 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

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