Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sword with only one cutting edge.
  • n. A one-handed fencing stick; a singlestick.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sword with one sharp edge.
  • n. A stick with a basket handle, used in rustic amusements.
  • n. The game in which the stick is used.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sword with one sharp edge.
  • n. In England, a stick with a basket handle, used in rustic amusements; also, the game in which the stick is used. Also called singlestick.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sword with one sharp edge, used for cutting rather than thrusting, sometimes curved, and frequently straight.
  • n. A cudgel fitted with a basket-hilt, used for a particular kind of single-stick play.
  • n. A cudgel-play in which the back-sword (in sense 2) is used, peculiar to certain counties of England, and still kept up at festivals and the like in the attempt to preserve old customs.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a sword with only one cutting edge
  • n. a stick used instead of a sword for fencing

Etymologies

back +‎ sword (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Actually, I'm reading George Silver at the moment also and the parallels between Silver and Liechtenauer are remarkable. (the Glasgow backsword class finally opened on Monday)

    zornhau: Zwerhhau...!

  • In the same manner, he proved satisfactorily, that the word sword comprehended all descriptions, whether backsword or basket-hilt, cut-and-thrust or rapier, falchion, or scimitar.

    The Abbot

  • After nearly eight hours of rapier, infantry sabre with an hour’s digression into backsword techniques we were all, to put it mildly, a little tired.

    Jedi mind tricks and light sabres equals giddy kippers

  • Rick took us through rapier, backsword, small sword and finally broadsword at least until he smashed it on Andrew's wrist and used a sabre instead.

    Fight night

  • The two interpreters put on a good show of backsword, buckler, main gauche and transitional rapier although it was fairly obviously stage combat rather than any particular techniques from the treatises of Silver and Saviolo.

    Live in Leeds

  • At Wilsden Green, a hat, and a purse of twenty shillings, were played for at backsword, and, as an encouragement for young players, five shillings were given to the winner of every head, and two shillings to the loser.

    The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor Volume I, Number 3

  • Twenty-four gamesters contended manfully at Harrow-on-the-Hill for a prize of a hat and purse, at the _right valiant_ game of backsword.

    The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor Volume I, Number 3

  • _ A person who presides at backsword or singlestick, to regulate the game; an umpire: a person who settles disputes.

    The Dialect of the West of England; Particularly Somersetshire

  • England about the abolition of the Briton's old favourite sports, it was conceded by all but a few, that from the custom of boxing, singlestick and backsword playing, wrestling, &c. arose the good temper which distinguishes that people -- Englishmen being less subject to violent fits of anger than the people of any other nation in the world.

    The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor Volume I, Number 1

  • In Scotland they excel at the backsword -- the Irish too are admirable hands -- but neither have the temper of the English;

    The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor Volume I, Number 1

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