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[swos-ti-kuh or, esp. British, swas-] /ˈswɒs tɪ kə or, esp. British, ˈswæs-/
a figure used as a symbol or an ornament in the Old World and in America since prehistoric times, consisting of a cross with arms of equal length, each arm having a continuation at right angles.
this figure as the official emblem of the Nazi party and the Third Reich.
Origin of swastika
1850-55; < Sanskrit svastika, equivalent to su- good, well (cognate with Greek eu- eu-) + as- be (see is) + -ti- abstract noun suffix + -ka secondary noun suffix
Related forms
swastikaed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swastika
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Whenever or wherever a benediction or blessing is given, the swastika is used.

    The Swastika Thomas Wilson
  • Of the many forms of the cross, the swastika is the most ancient.

    The Swastika Thomas Wilson
  • But the most ancient and universal form of the cross is that of the swastika, or Fylfote.

    Needlework As Art Marian Alford
  • Thus we have, according to him, the origin of the swastika, as shown in figs. 27 and 28.

    The Swastika Thomas Wilson
  • Akin to the swastika, if not an evolution from it, was the Cross, made forever holy by the highest heroism of Love.

    The Builders Joseph Fort Newton
  • Professor Goodyear devotes an entire chapter to the swastika.

    The Swastika Thomas Wilson
  • The literature relating to the swastika is too extended to permit of any adequate summary in these notes.

  • This, if true, relieves the swastika from all relation with the circle as a symbol of the sun.

    The Swastika Thomas Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for swastika


a primitive religious symbol or ornament in the shape of a Greek cross, usually having the ends of the arms bent at right angles in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction
this symbol with clockwise arms, officially adopted in 1935 as the emblem of Nazi Germany
Word Origin
C19: from Sanskrit svastika, from svasti prosperity; from the belief that it brings good luck
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swastika

Greek cross with arms bent at right angles, 1871 (later specifically as emblem of the Nazi party, 1932), from Sanskrit svastika-s, literally "being fortunate," from svasti-s "well-being, luck," from su- "well" + as-, root of asti "(he) is," which is from the same PIE root as Latin esse "to be" (see essence).

Also known as gammadion (Byzantine), cross cramponnee (heraldry), Thor's hammer, and, perhaps, fylfot. Originally an ancient cosmic or religious symbol thought to bring good luck. Use in reference to the Nazi emblem first recorded in English in 1932. The German word was Hakenkreuz, literally "hook-cross."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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