• synonyms


[strij-uh l]
  1. an instrument with a curved blade, used especially by the ancient Greeks and Romans for scraping the skin at the bath and in the gymnasium.
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Origin of strigil

1575–85; < Latin strigilis, akin to stringere to touch lightly; see streak, strike
Related formsstrig·il·ate [strij-uh-lit, -leyt] /ˈstrɪdʒ ə lɪt, -ˌleɪt/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for strigil

Historical Examples

  • Having warmed the fat of a squirrel in a strigil, instil it.

    Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times

    John Stewart Milne

  • A boy emerging into manhood leaves his petasos and strigil and chlamys to Hermes, the god of games.

  • In one the athlete is represented handing his strigil to his slave, in the other the athlete stands alone, strigil in hand.


    Oscar Wilde

  • Galen generally followed the teaching of Hippocrates on gymnastics, and wrote a whole book on the merits of using the strigil.

  • The guttus was a small vessel with a narrow neck adapted for dropping oil on the strigil to lubricate its working edge.

British Dictionary definitions for strigil


  1. a curved blade used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to scrape the body after bathing
  2. architect a decorative fluting, esp one in the shape of the letter S as used in Roman architecture
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Word Origin

C16: from Latin strigilis, from stringere to graze
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 strigil


"ancient tool for scraping the skin after a bath," 1580s, from Latin strigilis "horse-comb," from stringere (1) "draw along a surface, graze, wound, strip off, rub," from PIE root *streig- (cf. Latin striga "stroke, strike, furrow," stria "furrow, channel;" Old Church Slavonic striga "shear;" Old English stracian "to stroke;" German streichen "to stroke, rub"). Etymologists dispute over whether this is connected to Latin stringere (2), root of strain (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper