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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.
1825-35; < Spanish, equivalent to mach(o) mallet (cf. mace1) + -ete noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for machete
  • At last they took the right leg and put it on the same log and cut it off with a machete.
  • The spin was not fatal to the crocodile, though, which was found in the wreckage by rescuers-and then hacked up with a machete.
  • He was then strapped to the pilot's chair, a machete at his throat and another at his groin.
  • Also, the harvesting is simpler--a machete or hacksaw is all that's needed--and sawmills are unnecessary.
  • While building the dam, the property owner had a serious encounter with a machete.
  • Instead the miners bring out the specimens--dark, opaque lumps that they crack with a machete to see if there are any inclusions.
  • It was a choice he cast as between a scalpel and a machete.
  • The company hand-labels the bottles and cuts the sugarcane by machete in order to provide jobs.
  • The burglar panicked, grabbed a handy machete, and killed her.
  • Reported taken were a machete and perhaps a lobster trap.
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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