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[muh-shet-ee, -chet-ee] /məˈʃɛt i, -ˈtʃɛt i/
a large heavy knife used especially in Latin-American countries in cutting sugarcane and clearing underbrush and as a weapon.
a tarpon, Elops affinis, of the eastern Pacific Ocean, having an elongated, compressed body.
Origin of machete
1825-35; < Spanish, equivalent to mach(o) mallet (cf. mace1) + -ete noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for machete
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Leaving her clothing and other goods, she started off with the two children, a little food, and her machete.

    Fetichism in West Africa Robert Hamill Nassau
  • These they would disable with a “machete” and then tow ashore.

    Anting-Anting Stories Sargent Kayme
  • A machete is a long strong knife, and he used it to cut up the wood into small pieces.

    The Mexican Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
  • Stuart expected to see the Cuban cut down with one stroke of the machete.

    Plotting in Pirate Seas Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • When the spear is well thrust into the skull, he stoops into the grave, and with a machete cuts off the head.

    Fetichism in West Africa Robert Hamill Nassau
British Dictionary definitions for machete


/məˈʃɛtɪ; -ˈtʃeɪ-/
a broad heavy knife used for cutting or as a weapon, esp in parts of Central and South America
Word Origin
C16 macheto, from Spanish machete, from macho club, perhaps from Vulgar Latin mattea (unattested) club
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 machete

1590s (in pseudo-Spanish form macheto), from Spanish machete, probably a diminutive of macho "sledge hammer," alteration of mazo "club," which is probably [Barnhart] a dialectal variant of maza "mallet," from Vulgar Latin *mattea "war club" (see mace (n.1)). An alternative explanation traces macho to Latin marculus "a small hammer," diminutive of marcus "hammer," from a base parallel to that of Latin malleus (see mallet).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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