[sis-truh m]

noun, plural sis·trums, sis·tra [sis-truh] /ˈsɪs trə/.

an ancient Egyptian percussion instrument consisting of a looped metal frame set in a handle and fitted with loose crossbars that rattle when shaken.

Origin of sistrum

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek seîstron, derivative of seíein to shake (cf. seismic) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sistrum

Historical Examples of sistrum

  • Among these were the sistrum, trumpet, double flute, and others.

  • They could hear the ringing of the sistrum bells and the murmuring chant of the priests.

  • Figure 62 represents one of the forms assumed by the sistrum of Isis.

  • Of the drawings in it I need say nothing, and of the sistrum or sceptre only a few words.


    H. Rider Haggard

  • Next moment she had recovered the sistrum and passed on with her head bowed.

    The Ancient Allan

    H. Rider Haggard

British Dictionary definitions for sistrum


noun plural -tra (-trə)

a musical instrument of ancient Egypt consisting of a metal rattle

Word Origin for sistrum

C14: via Latin from Greek seistron, from seiein to shake
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