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[rey-pee-er] /ˈreɪ pi ər/
a small sword, especially of the 18th century, having a narrow blade and used for thrusting.
a longer, heavier sword, especially of the 16th and 17th centuries, having a double-edged blade and used for slashing and thrusting.
Origin of rapier
1545-55; < Middle French (espee) rapiere literally, rasping (sword); see rape3
Related forms
rapiered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rapier
  • We must not suppose that the rapier fight of the sixteenth century resembled modern fencing.
  • rapier wit, flowing golden locks, she's the complete package.
  • He was a generous philanthropist and both he and his rapier wit will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
  • Each one took something from the heap-one a morion, another a rapier, a third a cross-hilted dagger.
  • If the prof can skewer me with his rapier red pen, so be it.
  • Perhaps reality lies somewhere between the rapier thrust and the sympathetic ear.
British Dictionary definitions for rapier


a long narrow two-edged sword with a guarded hilt, used as a thrusting weapon, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries
a smaller single-edged 18th-century sword, used principally in France
Derived Forms
rapier-like, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Old French espee rapiere, literally: rasping sword; see rasp1
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 rapier

"light, sharp-pointed sword," 1550s, from Middle French rapière, from espee rapiere "long, pointed two-edged sword" (late 15c.), in which the adjective is of uncertain origin, perhaps from derisive use of raspiere "poker, scraper." Dutch, Danish rapier, German Rappier are from French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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