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A sickle (smaller) and a scythe (larger)


From Middle English sikel (also assibilated in sichel), from Old English sicol, siċel, from Proto-Germanic *sikilō (ploughshare), of uncertain origin. Possibly a borrowing from Latin sēcula (sickle) or sīcīlis (sickle); itself from Proto-Albanian *tsikā, or, alternatively derived as a diminutive of Proto-Germanic *seką (ploughshare), from Proto-Indo-European *seg-, a variant of Proto-Indo-European *sek- (to cut).

Cognate with West Frisian systel, sisel, sizel (sickle), Dutch sikkel (sickle), German Sichel (sickle). Related also to West Frisian sichte (sickle), Dutch zicht (sickle), German Low German Sichte, Sicht (sickle), German Sech (the blade of a sickle or scythe).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɪkl̩/
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  • Rhymes: -ɪkəl
  • Hyphenation: sic‧kle


sickle (plural sickles)

  1. (agriculture) An implement having a semicircular blade and short handle, used for cutting long grass and cereal crops.
  2. Any of the sickle-shaped middle feathers of the domestic cock.


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A micrograph of red blood cells of a person with sickle-cell disease, which causes some cells to assume abnormal, sickle-like crescent shapes

sickle (third-person singular simple present sickles, present participle sickling, simple past and past participle sickled)

  1. (agriculture, transitive) To cut with a sickle.
  2. (transitive) To deform (as with a red blood cell) into an abnormal crescent shape.
  3. (intransitive) Of red blood cells: to assume an abnormal crescent shape.

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sickle (comparative more sickle, superlative most sickle)

  1. Shaped like the blade of a sickle; crescent-shaped.
    a sickle moon

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