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EnglishEdit

 
scythe (1) (larger) and sickle (smaller)

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English sythe, sithe, from Old English sīþe, siðe, sigði (sickle), probably from Proto-Germanic *sagisnō (sickle). Cognates within the Germanic family are West Frisian seine (scythe), Dutch zicht (sickle), German Sense (scythe). Related to saw (which see).

The silent c crept in in early 15thc. owing to pseudoetymological association with Mediaeval Latin scissor ("tailor, carver"), from Latin scindere (to cut, rend, split).

The verb, which was first used in the intransitive sense, is from the noun.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈsaɪð/, (some accents) IPA(key): /ˈsaɪθ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪð, -aɪθ

NounEdit

scythe (plural scythes)

  1. An instrument for mowing grass, grain, etc. by hand, composed of a long, curving blade with a sharp concave edge, fastened to a long handle called a snath. [before 10th c.]
  2. (historical) A scythe-shaped blade attached to ancient war chariots.
  3. (cartomancy) The tenth Lenormand card.

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VerbEdit

scythe (third-person singular simple present scythes, present participle scything, simple past and past participle scythed)

  1. (intransitive) To use a scythe. [from 1570s]
  2. (transitive) To cut with a scythe. [from 1570s]
  3. (transitive) To cut off as with a scythe; to mow. [from 1590s]
  4. (intransitive, figuratively) To attack or injure as if cutting.
    • 2011, Catherine Sampson, The Pool of Unease
      The boy began to keen, and the high-pitched noise scythed through Song's head.

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