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See also: Scutum


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Conspicuous scutum on a typical female hard tick before she has fed. Note the pale eye-spots near the edges of the scutum, roughly between the 2nd and 3rd legs
The same scutum is relatively less conspicuous after the tick has fed, because it has not changed in size, whereas the tick has swollen as it engorged


Borrowed from Latin scūtum (shield). Doublet of escudo, scudo, scute, and écu.



scutum (plural scuta or scutums)

  1. (historical, Roman antiquity) An oblong shield made of boards or wickerwork covered with leather, with sometimes an iron rim; carried chiefly by the heavily armed infantry of the Roman army.
  2. (zoology) A scute.
  3. (zoology) A shield-like protection, such as the scutum protecting the back of a hard tick (cf. alloscutum, conscutum)
    • 2009, Dwight D. Bowman, Georgis' Parasitology for Veterinarians:
      A tick's eye, if present, is a mere roundish lucent area at the margin of the scutum about opposite the second coxa.
  4. (zoology) One of the two lower valves of the operculum of a barnacle.
  5. (anatomy) The kneecap.



tria scūta (three scuta)


Referred to either Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewH- (to cover, protect) or Proto-Indo-European *skey- (to cut, split). See Old Irish scíath, Russian щит (ščit).



scūtum n (genitive scūtī); second declension

  1. a type of shield: the scutum, the large oblong wooden shield carried by the Roman infantry
  2. a shield
    • 77 CE – 79 CE, Pliny the Elder, Naturalis historia 35.3:
      Verum clupeos in sacro vel publico dicare privatim primus instituit, ut reperio, Appius Claudius qui consul cum P. Servilio fuit anno urbis cclviiii. posuit enim in Bellonae aede maiores suos, placuitque in excelso spectari et titulos honorum legi, decora res, utique si liberum turba parvulis imaginibus ceu nidum aliquem subolis pariter ostendat, quales clupeos nemo non gaudens favensque aspicit. post eum M. Aemilius collega in consulatu Quinti Lutatii non in basilica modo Aemilia, verum et domi suae posuit, id quoque Martio exemplo. scutis enim, qualibus apud Troiam pugnatum est, continebantur imagines, unde et nomen habuere clupeorum, non, ut perversa grammaticorum suptilitas voluit, a cluendo. origo plena virtutis, faciem reddi in scuto cuiusque qui fuerit usus illo.
      • 1952 translation by H. Rackham
        But the first person to institute the custom of privately dedicating the shields with portraits in a temple or public place, I find, was Appius Claudius, the consul with Publius Servilius in the 259th year of the city. He set up his ancestors in 495 b.c. the shrine of the Goddess of War, and desired them to be in full view on an elevated spot, and the inscriptions stating their honours to be read. This is a seemly device, especially if miniature likenesses of a swarm of children at the sides display a sort of brood of nestlings; shields of this description everybody views with pleasure and approval. After him Marcus Aemilius, Quintus Lutatius’s colleague 78 b.c. in the consulship, set up portrait-shields not only in the Basilica Aemilia but also in his own home, and in doing this he was following a truly warlike example; for the shields which contained the likenesses resembled those employed in the fighting at Troy; and this indeed gave them their name of clupei, which is not derived from the word meaning 'to be celebrated,' as the misguided ingenuity of scholars has made out. It is a copious inspiration of valour for there to be a representation on a shield of the countenance of him who once used it.
  3. (by metonymy) shield-bearing soldiers
  4. (figuratively) a defense, protection, shelter

Usage notes[edit]

  • Although it has a technical meaning denoting a type of Roman shield, this word appears to have been also the generic word for "shield", suitable for referring to shields of other shapes and make.


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative scūtum scūta
Genitive scūtī scūtōrum
Dative scūtō scūtīs
Accusative scūtum scūta
Ablative scūtō scūtīs
Vocative scūtum scūta

Related terms[edit]



  • scutum”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • scutum”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • scutum in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • scutum”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • scutum”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin