• synonyms


or scim·i·ter, sim·i·tar

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  1. a curved, single-edged sword of Asian, especially Eastern origin.
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Origin of scimitar

1540–50; < Italian scimitarra, ultimately < Persian
Related formsscim·i·tared, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for scimitar


rarely simitar

  1. an oriental sword with a curved blade broadening towards the point
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Word Origin

C16: from Old Italian scimitarra, probably from Persian shimshīr, of obscure origin
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 scimitar


1540s, cimiterie, from Middle French cimeterre (15c.) or Italian scimitarra, of uncertain origin. Turkish would be the expected source, but no such word has been found there. Perhaps from Persian shimshir (pronounced "shamsher," cf. Greek sampsera "a barbarian sword," from this source), but OED finds this "unsatisfactory as to form." Many early variations; the modern spelling is from influence of the Italian form of the word. Century Dictionary (1902) has simitar as preferred spelling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper