from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A percussion instrument of ancient Egypt, Sumeria, and Rome consisting of metal rods or loops attached to a metal frame.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An ancient Egyptian musical instrument, to be shaken, consisting of a metal frame holding percussive metal beads.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- An instrument consisting of a thin metal frame, through which passed a number of metal rods, and furnished with a handle by which it was shaken and made to rattle. It was peculiarly Egyptian, and used especially in the worship of Isis. It is still used in Nubia.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A musical instrument much used in ancient Egypt and other Oriental countries. It was a form of rattle, consisting of an oval frame or rim of metal carrying several rods, which were either loose or fitted with loose rings. In either case the sound was produced by shaking, so that the rods might rattle or jingle. It was an attribute of the worship of Isis, and hence was commonly ornamented with a figure of the sacred cat.
Middle English, from Latin sīstrum, from Greek seistron, from seiein, to shake.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sistrum, from Ancient Greek σείστρον, from σείω ("shake"). (Wiktionary)