From Middle English glaive (“weapon with a long shaft ending in a point or blade; lance, spear; lance used as a winning post in a race, sometimes also given to the winner as a prize”), from Old French glaive (“lance; sword”). The further etymology is uncertain; one possibility is that the Old French word is from Latin gladius (“sword”), while another is that it derives from Proto-Celtic *kladiwos (“sword”), with both ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *kelh₂- (“to beat; to break”). The Oxford English Dictionary notes that neither of these words had the oldest meaning of Old French glaive (“lance”). The English word is cognate with Middle Dutch glavie, glaye (“lance”); Middle High German glavîe, glævîn (“lance”), Swedish glaven (“lance”).
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) enPR: glāv, IPA(key): /ɡleɪv/
Audio (RP) (file) Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪv
glaive (plural glaives)
- (obsolete, historical) A light lance with a long, sharp-pointed head.
- 1919, R[obert] Coltman Clephan, chapter II, in The Tournament: Its Periods and Phases, London: Methuen & Co., […], OCLC 26431547, page 18:
- The lance, or glaive as it is often called, of the eleventh and twelfth centuries was quite straight and smooth; a vamplate was added in the fourteenth, small at first but larger later, for the protection of the right arm.
- (historical) A weapon consisting of a pole with a large blade fixed on the end, the edge of which is on the outside curve.
- 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, […], London: […] S. Hooper […], OCLC 1179797755, page 52:
- The Welch Glaive is a kind of bill, ſometimes reckoned among the pole axes. They were formerly much in uſe. [...] In the Britiſh Muſeum there is an entry of a warrant, granted to Nicholas Spicer, authoriſing him to impreſs ſmiths for making two thouſand Welch bills or glaives.
- 1891, R[obert] H[enry] Codrington, “Arts of Life”, in The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folk-lore, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press, OCLC 457836141, page 305:
- With the spear comes the use of the shield; yet the San Cristoval spearmen use no such defence, but turn off spears thrown at them with long curved glaives, and the shields in use in Florida are not made in that island.
- 1999, Tamora Pierce, First Test: A Tortall Legend (Protector of the Small; 1), New York, N.Y.: Ember, Random House Children’s Books, published 2018, →ISBN, page 22:
- At that moment Ilane swung the bladed staff—glaive, Kel remembered as it swung, they called it a glaive—in a wide side cut, slicing one pirate across the chest.
- (loosely or poetic, archaic) A sword, particularly a broadsword.
- c. 1596–1599, William Shakespear[e], “The Second Part of Henry IV. […]”, in The Works of Mr. William Shakespear, volume III (Consisting of Historical Plays), Oxford, Oxfordshire: […] Clarendon-Press, published 1770, OCLC 247020642, Act IV, scene i, page 426:
- Wherefore do you ſo ill tranſlate yourſelf, / Out of the ſpeech of peace, that bears ſuch grace, / Into the harſh and boiſt'rous tongue of war? / Turning your books to glaives, your ink to blood, / Your pens to lances, and your tongue divine / To a loud trumpet, and a point of war?
- 1748, James Thomson, “Canto II”, in The Castle of Indolence: […], London: […] A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 54163524, stanza XXXIX, page 60:
- Juſtice were cruel weakly to relent; / From Mercy’s Self ſhe got her ſacred Glaive: / Grace be to thoſe who can, and will, repent; / But Penance long, and dreary, to the Slave, / Who muſt in Floods of Fire his groſs ſoul Spirit lave.
- 1750, Allan Ramsay, “Hardyknute. A Fragment of an Old Heroic Ballad.”, in The Tea-table Miscellany: Or, A Collection of Choice Songs, Scots and English, […], volume I, 11th edition, London: […] A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 221377407, stanza XXI, page 215:
- Thus furth he drew his truſty glaive, / While thouſands all arround, / Drawn frae their ſheaths glanſt in the ſun, / And loud the bougills ſound.
- a. 1908, Francis Thompson, “[Miscellaneous Odes.] Laus Amara Doloris”, in The Works of Francis Thompson, volume II (Poems), New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons […], published 1913, OCLC 1713137, page 124:
- Yea, that same awful angel with the glaive / Which in disparadising orbit swept / Lintel and pilaster and architrave
- ^ From Wendelin Boeheim (1890) , “Die Glese und die Couse”, in Handbuch der Waffenkunde. Das Waffenwesen in seiner historischen Entwicklung vom Beginn des Mittelalters bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts [Handbook of Weapon Knowledge. Weaponry in Its Historical Development from the Beginning of the Middle Ages to the End of the 18th Century.] (Seemanns kunstgewerbliche Handbücher; VII), Leipzig: E. A. Seemann, OCLC 457086621, figure 396, pages 343–344.
glaive m (plural glaives)
- “glaive” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
Probably from an original *glede (from Latin gladius) with influence from Gaulish gladebo (“sword”). Both terms are ultimately from Proto-Celtic *kladiwos (“sword”). Alternatively, the d in *glede that had come to be pronounced as /ð/ in Old French may have been fronted to /v/ (perhaps with the additional influence of the aforementioned Gaulish term.)