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From Scottish Gaelic claidheamh beag (literally small sword). First attested in 1825 as Clay-beg.


claybeg (plural claybegs)

  1. (historical) The Scottish broadsword used during the Early Modern period.
    • 1835, letter to the editor of The United Service Magazine, page 109:
      When Sir Walter Scott speaks, prior to 1715, of the inferiority of the claymore to the rapier, he refers not to the claybeg or Andrew Ferrara, now worn by the officers and sergeants of the Highland corps, and which has usurped the venerable name of the ancient Scottish weapon.

Usage notes[edit]

Used as a term for the Scottish basket-hilted broadsword usually known as a claymore by those who don't take the view that the latter term is properly applied to the medieval two-handed sword only.


  • Thomas Dudley Fosbroke, Encyclopædia of Antiquities: And Elements of Archaeology, Classical and Mediæval, Volume 2, 1825, page 777