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sceptre Line breaks: sceptre
Pronunciation: /ˈsɛptə/
(US scepter)

Definition of sceptre in English:


Image of sceptre
An ornamented staff carried by rulers on ceremonial occasions as a symbol of sovereignty: imperial regalia of orb and sceptre figurative a blue worker’s smock is his robe of office, his sceptre a venerable hoe
More example sentences
  • In her left hand she carries the sceptre of state; in her right the orb.
  • Each was swathed in robes of black, and all carried the sceptre that befitted their station.
  • The roof is ornamented with three cherubs, representing England, Scotland and Ireland, supporting the royal crown and holding the sceptre, sword of state and ensign of knighthood.


Middle English: from Old French ceptre, via Latin from Greek skēptron, from skēptein (alteration of skēptesthai) 'lean on'.

  • The sceptre carried by modern rulers on ceremonial occasions is generally a short ornamented stick, but the word's origin shows that it was originally longer. The word came into medieval English from Old French ceptron, but goes back to Greek skēptron, from skēptein ‘to lean on’. Ancient Greek vase paintings show kings holding tall sceptres long enough to lean on. This sceptred isle is Britain. The term comes from John of Gaunt's description of the island in Shakespeare's Richard II: ‘This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle…This precious stone set in the silver sea.’



Example sentences
  • The great emperor was revealed sitting on a throne, crowned and sceptered, and surprisingly well preserved.
  • This is the second disc in another excellent series devoted to the rich seam of British Light Overtures, an area in which the composers from this sceptred isle were extremely prolific.
  • We have it on no less an authority than the Foreign Secretary that this is the favourite dish of choice up and down these sceptred isles from whence the touring party was recruited.

Definition of sceptre in:

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