Definitions

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

  • noun A double-edged dagger formerly used in Ireland and Scotland.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See skein.
  • noun A dagger; specifically, an ancient form of dagger found in Ireland, usually of bronze, double-edged, and more or less leafshaped, and thus distinguished from the different forms of the seax, or broad-backed knife.

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

  • noun A knife or short dagger, esp. that in use among the Highlanders of Scotland. [Variously spelt.]

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

  • noun Obsolete form of skein.
  • noun A double-edged, leaf-shaped, typically bronze dagger formerly used in Ireland and Scotland

Etymologies

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

[Middle English skene, from Irish Gaelic scian, from Old Irish scían; see skei- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • No man dared to present himself at mass without some weapon, a pike, a long knife called a skean, or, at the very least, a strong ashen stake, pointed and hardened in the fire.

    The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 3

  • a knife the Scotch highlanders call a skean-dhu, sharp-pointed as a needle, sharp-edged as a razor, and with one blow of it he had cleft her heart, and she never cried or laughed any more in that body whose charms she had degraded to the vile servitude of her vanity.

    Thomas Wingfold, Curate

  • a knife the Scotch highlanders call a skean-dhu, sharp-pointed as a needle, sharp-edged as a razor, and with one blow of it he had cleft her heart, and she never cried or laughed any more in that body whose charms she had degraded to the vile servitude of her vanity.

    Thomas Wingfold, Curate V1

  • Then they farewelled him and went down to look after the safety of their troops; and they ceased not to keep up the fires till the morning rose with its sheen and shone, when the fighting-men mounted their horses of noble strain and smote one another with thin-edged skean and with brawn of bill they thrust amain nor did they cease that day battle to darraign.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • For a while I travelled around with a skean dhu which had a sheath and a special bit for scaling fish.

    Fruit with a Knife: A Home Cook Cuts Up

  • " He drew the tiny, hand-forged skean dhu, the little -black knife, " from its silk and leather sheath at his belt.

    The Chrome Borne

  • He drew the tiny, hand-forged skean dhu, the little "black knife," from its silk and leather sheath at his belt.

    Omnibus

  • " He drew the tiny, hand-forged skean dhu, the little -black knife, " from its silk and leather sheath at his belt.

    Born To Run

  • I buckled the final clasp of my shirtcloak, fitted my skean another notch into it, and counted the money Mack had advanced me for expenses.

    The Door Through Space

  • The youngster I'd helped loading horses, the first day, gazed down at one of the catmen, half-disemboweled by somebody's skean, and suddenly bolted for the bushes, where I heard him retching.

    The Door Through Space

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