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or assagai

[as-uh-gahy] /ˈæs əˌgaɪ/
noun, plural assegais.
the slender javelin or spear of the Bantu-speaking people of southern Africa.
a southern African tree, Curtisia dentata, of the dogwood family, from whose wood such spears are made.
verb (used with object), assegaied, assegaiing.
to pierce with an assegai.
Origin of assegai
1615-25; earlier azagaia < Portuguese < Arabic az zaghāyah, equivalent to al the + Berber zaghāyah assegai Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for assegai
Historical Examples
  • These presently formed into one dense brown mass, with their assegai blades glinting sharply in the rays of the morning sun.

    The Matabele Campaign R. S. S. Baden-Powell
  • Suddenly, without a sound, Bombyane shook his assegai and rushed straight at me.

    Allan's Wife H. Rider Haggard
  • Even the Vicar was there, armed with an assegai—no doubt a missionary trophy.

  • Then one of them lifted his assegai and drove it through his breast.

  • And, poising his assegai, he sprang forward to the old Mosutu witch-doctor.

    The King's Assegai Bertram Mitford
  • Umgolo sprang forward and plunged his assegai into its breast.

    Hendricks the Hunter W.H.G. Kingston
  • The dark, brawny arm of the sorceress was upraised, her muscular fingers gripped the assegai haft a few inches from the blade.

    'Tween Snow and Fire Bertram Mitford
  • Ronald lifted her down, and then pulled the assegai from the horse's back.

  • The servant I saw them assegai, so at least he died at once.

    Marie H. Rider Haggard
  • An assegai or two would have answered all purposes there on the spot.

    Harley Greenoak's Charge Bertram Mitford
British Dictionary definitions for assegai


noun (pl) -gais
a southern African cornaceous tree, Curtisia faginea, the wood of which is used for making spears
a sharp light spear, esp one made of this wood
Word Origin
C17: from Portuguese azagaia, from Arabic az zaghāyah, from al the + zaghāyah assegai, from Berber
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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