a rod or wand borne in the hand as an emblem of regal or imperial power.
royal or imperial power or authority; sovereignty.
verb (used with object)
to give a scepter to; invest with authority.
Also, especially British, sceptre.

1250–1300; Middle English (s)ceptre < Old French < Latin scēptrum < Greek skêptron staff; akin to shaft

scepterless, adjective
sceptral [sep-truhl] , adjective
unsceptered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
sceptre or scepter (ˈsɛptə)
1.  a ceremonial staff held by a monarch as the symbol of authority
2.  imperial authority; sovereignty
3.  (tr) to invest with authority
[C13: from Old French sceptre, from Latin scēptrum, from Greek skeptron staff]
scepter or scepter
[C13: from Old French sceptre, from Latin scēptrum, from Greek skeptron staff]
'sceptred or scepter
'sceptered or scepter

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from O.Fr. sceptre, from L. sceptrum, from Gk. skeptron "staff," from root of skeptesthai "to prop oneself." Cognate with O.E. sceaft (see shaft).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


ornamented rod or staff borne by rulers on ceremonial occasions as an emblem of authority and sovereignty. The primeval symbol of the staff was familiar to the Greeks and Romans and to the Germanic tribes in various forms (baculus, "long staff"; sceptrum, "short staff") and had various significances. The staff of command belonged to God as well as to the earthly ruler; there were the old man's staff, the messenger's wand, the shepherd's crook, and, derived from it, the bishop's, and so on.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He wears a carved watermelon rind crown and holds a watermelon vine scepter.
If someone were to tap him with the scepter he holds, he would surely shatter.
It depicts a mace or scepter used by the chiefs or high priests in special ceremonies and rituals.
And they have more garish, naughty and irreverent song-and-dance routines than you can shake a scepter at.
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