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See also: Dagger



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A small and richly decorated Mughal-era dagger of North India (Louvre, Paris, MR 13434)

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English daggere, probably adapted from Old French dague (1229), related to Occitan, Italian, Spanish daga, Dutch dagge, German Degen, Middle Low German dagge (knife's point), Old Norse daggardr, Welsh dager, dagr, Breton dac, Albanian thikë (a knife, dagger), thek (to stab, to pierce with a sharp object).

In English attested from the 1380s. The ultimate origin of the word is unclear. Grimm[1] suspects Celtic origin. Others have suggested derivation from an unattested Vulgar Latin *daca "Dacian [knife]", from the Latin adjective dācus[2]. Chastelain (Dictionaire etymologique, 1750) thought that French dague was a derivation from German dagge, dagen, although not attested until a much later date).

The knightly dagger evolves from the 12th century. Guillaume le Breton (died 1226) uses daca in his Philippide. Other Middle Latin forms include daga, dagga, dagha, dagger, daggerius, daggerium, dagarium, dagarius, diga[3]; the forms with -r- are late 14th century adoptions of the English word). OED points out that there is also an English verb dag (to stab) from which this could be a derivation, but the verb is attested only from about 1400.

Relation to Old Armenian դակու (daku, adze, axe) has also been suggested[4].



dagger (plural daggers)

  1. (weaponry) A stabbing weapon, similar to a sword but with a short, double-edged blade.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i], line 282:
      I bruised my shin th’ other day with playing at sword and dagger with a master of fence; []
    • 1599, Shakespeare, William, THE MOST EX-cellent and lamentable Tragedie, of Romeo and Iuliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and amended: As it hath bene ſundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Serunts.[1], 2nd Quarto, London: Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, and are to be ſold at his ſhop neare the Exchange., Act V, scene iii:
      Iuli. Yea, noiſe? then ile be briefe. O happy dagger.
      This is thy ſeath, there ruſt and let me dye.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 34:
      The dagger, under the title cultellum and misericorde, has been the constant companion of the sword, at least from the days of Edward I. and is mentioned in the statute of Winchester.
  2. (typography) The text character ; the obelus.
Derived termsEdit
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See alsoEdit


dagger (third-person singular simple present daggers, present participle daggering, simple past and past participle daggered)

  1. To pierce with a dagger; to stab.

Etymology 2Edit

Perhaps from diagonal.


dagger (plural daggers)

  1. A timber placed diagonally in a ship's frame.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)


  1. ^ Grimm
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Martirosyan, Hrach (2010) Etymological Dictionary of the Armenian Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 8), Leiden, Boston: Brill, page 232