SCIMITAR, the term generally used of all oriental singleedged curved or crescent-shaped swords (see SWORD). The word has appeared in a variety of forms in English, due to Fr. cimetare, It. scimitarra or Span, cimitarra; it has even been corrupted into " smyter," as if connected with " smite." Most probably it represents an early Western corruption of the Persian word for a sabre, shamshir or shimshir, which means literally " lion's claw " (sher, lion, in Hindustani " tiger," and sham, nail, claw).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)