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fasces

[fas-eez] /ˈfæs iz/
noun, (usually used with a singular verb)
1.
a bundle of rods containing an ax with the blade projecting, borne before Roman magistrates as an emblem of official power.
Origin of fasces
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Latin, plural of fascis bundle, pack
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for fasces

fasces

/ˈfæsiːz/
plural noun (sing) -cis (-sɪs)
1.
(in ancient Rome) one or more bundles of rods containing an axe with its blade protruding; a symbol of a magistrate's power
2.
(in modern Italy) such an object used as the symbol of Fascism
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, plural of fascis bundle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for fasces
n.

1590s, from Latin fasces "bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade projecting" (plural of fascis "bundle" of wood, etc.), perhaps from PIE *bhasko- "band, bundle" (cf. Middle Irish basc "neckband," Welsh baich "load, burden," Old English bæst "inner bark of the linden tree"). Carried before a lictor, a superior Roman magistrate, as a symbol of power over life and limb: the sticks symbolized punishment by whipping, the axe head execution by beheading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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11
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