Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short heavy sword with a curved single-edged blade, once used as a weapon by sailors.
  • n. Caribbean A machete.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A short sword with a curved blade, and a convex edge; once used by sailors when boarding an enemy ship.
  • n. A similarly shaped tool; a machete.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A short, heavy, curving sword, used in the navy. See curtal ax.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See cutlas.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a short heavy curved sword with one edge; formerly used by sailors

Etymologies

French coutelas, from Old French coutelasse, probably augmentative of coutel, knife, from Latin cultellus, diminutive of culter, knife; see skel-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French coutelas, from Old French coutel ("knife") + -as (augmentative suffix) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The cutlass was a clumsy weapon, but sea fighting was hardly a fine art.

    Sharpe's Devil

  • A sword hanging on slings could be a hindrance, would strike against obstructions, and the cutlass was a handier weapon for what he contemplated.

    Hornblower And The Hotspur

  • In the literature of the eighteenth century the warrant is inseparably associated with the short, incurvated service sword commonly known as the cutlass or hanger; but in the press-gang prints of the period the gangsmen are generally armed with stout clubs answering to Smollett's

    The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore

  • National Security information yesterday was that a Tobago diver, assisting in the searches near the murder scene, discovered a cutlass, which is believed to be the murder weapon, as well as a discarded pair of boots, believed to have been worn by the killer, in a nearby lagoon.

    TrinidadExpress Today's News

  • Muscari (with much boyish gratification) buckled on a kind of cutlass under his black cloak.

    The Complete Father Brown

  • Africa, we must be careful not to fall into the trap of lowering our democratic guard thus allowing the undemocratic forces, which always will have a hidden 'cutlass', to do what 'Falsehood' did to

    Address at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs

  • The courier and the young banker carried loaded revolvers, and Muscari (with much boyish gratification) buckled on a kind of cutlass under his black cloak.

    The Wisdom of Father Brown

  • Their arms consisted of rifles -- which, Frobisher noted, were of widely-different patterns, most of them obsolete, although all were breech-loaders -- and a kind of cutlass, somewhat similar to the British naval weapon, but with a two-handed hilt, and only a small, circular piece of polished brass for a guard.

    A Chinese Command A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas

  • He had a broad belt round his waist, and the hilt of a kind of cutlass peeped from under his cloak.

    The Frozen Pirate

  • "It's all over," said Hilary as he took a firm grip of the hilt of his cutlass, meaning as soon as he was discovered to strike out right and left, and try to escape during the surprise his appearance would cause.

    In the King's Name The Cruise of the "Kestrel"

Comments

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  • “The Vought F7U Cutlass was a United States Navy carrier-based jet fighter and fighter-bomber of the early Cold War era. It was a highly unusual, semi-tailless design, allegedly based on aerodynamic data and plans captured from the Arado company at the end of World War II, though Vought designers denied any link to the German research at the time.�? More on Wikipedia.

    December 30, 2008