Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A light spear or lance used by Bantu peoples of southern Africa.
  • noun A tall evergreen tree (Curtisia dentata) of southern Africa, having durable wood used for making weapons, furniture, and other wooden products, and bark that is used in traditional medicine.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • See assagai.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Same as assagai.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A slim hardwood spear or javelin with an iron tip, especially those used by Bantu peoples of Southern Africa.
  • noun The tree species Curtisia dentata, because its wood is traditionally used to made assegais.
  • verb To spear with an assegai.

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

  • noun the slender spear of the Bantu-speaking people of Africa

Etymologies

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

[Obsolete French azagaie, probably from Old Spanish azagayah, from Arabic az-zag̣āya : al-, the + Berber zag̣āya, spear.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French azagaie (now zagaie) or Portuguese azagaia, Spanish azagaya, from colloquial Arabic الزغاية (al-zaghaya), from Berber zaġāya ("spear").

Examples

  • Another example, the Zulu warriors that fought the British over in Africa used the assegai, which is really just a fancy spear and couldn't make any Spartan jaws drop in awe, maybe in laughter or curiosity, but certainly not in awe.

    Down under on the right side

  • Bushman (who does not desire to kill them!) and the slender "assegai" of the Bechuana, the lion has little or no fear of man.

    Popular Adventure Tales

  • Bushman (who does not desire to kill them!) and the slender "assegai" of the Bechuana, the lion has little or no fear of man.

    The Bush Boys History and Adventures of a Cape Farmer and his Family

  • Ki-Gor landed lightly on his feet and instantly struck with the assegai blade in his right hand.

    The Green-Eyed Shwemyethna

  • Silently, he offered the butt end of his assegai for Robert to hold, and the oddly assorted pair moved slowly down the path.

    The Green-Eyed Shwemyethna

  • The sergeant, in the act of climbing over the tailboard, let out a hell of a shriek; I glimpsed his face, red and staring, and his arm flung out to point, and then his eyes stared horribly, and he slumped down into the dust, with a throwing assegai between his shoulders, his limbs thrashing wildly.

    Watershed

  • I came dizzily to my feet, to stare at the empty ravine, with a great black cloud billowing in the air above it, a few shreds of rope and timber dangling from the far lip, and on this side, lying in the dust, a single assegai.

    Watershed

  • Ki-Gor reached down, shook Helene's shoulder roughly, and seized the blade of the assegai.

    The Green-Eyed Shwemyethna

  • Suddenly Ki-Gor was beside him, hacking and stabbing with the assegai.

    The Green-Eyed Shwemyethna

  • His spine prickling, Ki-Gor stepped back a pace and shifted his grip on the assegai blade.

    The Green-Eyed Shwemyethna

Comments

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  • "Here-elsewhere: with deadly violence, a mixture of countries traveled, pieces of a life torn to shreds, a body scraped off the ground, appearance peculiar and untidy, blood stains; sweat, strife, toil: incursion of rebel assegais where the mountain rises up in fortification."

    Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb, translated by Jane Kuntz, p 6 of the Dalkey Archive paperback

    September 13, 2011