The Stabby Thing: Know Your Swords


I’m tickled by the etymologies of swords.

Sword” – from an Old English word meaning “sharp.” Menace me, will you? Behold as I unleash my Sharp!

Gladius” – Latin. The Beater or The Breaker. A tool of Empire. As in “we are Romans and we will beat you into submission. With these. You will comply.”

Chereb” – Hebrew. The blades one finds in the Old Testament. The word means “drought.” As in, when I cut you, all the water will drain out of you and there will be a desert in your body. I will make you a desert.

Estoc” – from Old French verb “to stab”; literally, the Stabby Thing

Falchion” – also French, “sickle.” We are taking this metaphor of reaping the enemy like wheat very seriously today.

Khanda” – the Divider. Because you are about to be sawn in two.

Saber” – “It Cuts.”

Rapier,” the dueling sword – Differing theories, but most probably from Spanish “ropa.” So in the 1500s, rapier probably meant “The One You Wear With a Fancy Dress.”

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