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First attested in 1548.

From Middle French cimeterre (15c.) or directly from Italian scimitarra, possibly from an unknown Ottoman Turkish word, ultimately from Persian شمشیر(šamšir, sword). Doublet of shamshir.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsɪmɪtɑːɹ/
  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɪmɪtə(ɹ)/
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  • Rhymes: -ɪmɪtə(ɹ)


scimitar (plural scimitars)

  1. A sword of Persian origin that features a curved blade.
    • c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
      The Prince of Morocco:
      [] By this scimitar,
      That slew the Sophy and a Persian prince
      That won three fields of Sultan Solyman,
      I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
      Outbrave the heart most daring on earth,
      Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
      Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
      To win thee, lady. []
  2. A long-handled billhook.

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scimitar (third-person singular simple present scimitars, present participle scimitaring, simple past and past participle scimitared)

  1. (transitive) To strike or slice with, or as if with, a scimitar.