Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 671 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CUTLASS, the naval side-arm, a short cutting sword with a slightly curved blade, and a solid basket-shaped guard (see SWORD). The word is derived from the Fr. coutelas, or coutelace, a form of coutel, modern couteau, a knife, from Lat. cultellus, diminutive of culter, a ploughshare, or cutting instrument. Two variations appear in English: " curtelace," where the r represents probably the l of the original Latin word, or is a further variant of the second variation; and " curtelaxe," often spelled as two words, "curtal axe," where the prefix curial is confused with various English words such as " curtan," " curtal " and " cur-tail," which all mean " shortened," and are derived from the Lat. curtus; the word thus wrongly derived has been supposed to refer to some non-existent form of battle-axe. In every case the weapon to which these various forms apply is a broad cutting or slashing sword.
End of Article: CUTLASS

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