Cutlass vs. Scimitar

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Cutlass and Scimitar is that the Cutlass is a Short, broad sword and Scimitar is a backsword or sabre with a curved blade

  • Cutlass

    A cutlass is a short, broad sabre or slashing sword, with a straight or slightly curved blade sharpened on the cutting edge, and a hilt often featuring a solid cupped or basket-shaped guard. It was a common naval weapon during the early Age of Sail.

  • Scimitar

    In English the word scimitar ( or ) refers to a backsword or sabre with a curved blade, originating in the Middle East. Adapted from the Italian word scimitarra in the mid 16th century from an unknown source, the word became used for all ‘Oriental’ blades which were curved, compared to the more commonly straight and double edged European swords of the time. This is apparent in Thomas Page’s The Use of the Broad Sword. Published: 1746: “The Sword was of enormous length and breadth, heavy and unweildy, design’d only for right down chopping by the Force of a strong Arm; till Time and Experience discovering the Disadvantages, by Degrees contracted its Length and lighten’d its Weight in to the more handy Form of the Scymitar; which was first invented by the Eastern Nations, and has continued to be their principal Weapon to this Day:….”

    “The Saracens, Turks and Persians, made use of but three different Throws with the Scymitar, and one of those, only on Horseback; the other two on Foot.” Thus did scimitar originally refer to a broad family of swords, of which there are now identified many individual types. Among modern sword collectors and historians the term is not frequently used, as it does not well describe a particular typology of blade, although the term was indeed used historically. Instead the word sabre covers all forms of curved blade regardless of their place of origin.

  • Cutlass (noun)

    A short sword with a curved blade, and a convex edge; once used by sailors when boarding an enemy ship.

  • Cutlass (noun)

    A similarly shaped tool; a machete.

  • Cutlass (verb)

    To cut back (vegetation) with a cutlass.

  • Scimitar (noun)

    A sword of Persian origin that features a curved blade.

  • Scimitar (noun)

    A long-handled billhook.

  • Scimitar (verb)

    To strike or slice with, or as if with, a scimitar.


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