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SCYTHE, an implement for mowing grass or reaping corn or grain, consisting of a curved steel blade fastened to a long wooden handle with a slight double curve from which project two small pieces by which the handle is held. The handle is technically known as the " snathe," " sned " or " snead " (sncedan to cut, cf. Ger. schneiden). The word in O.E. is, siSe or stye M.E. sithe; the mis-spelling " scythe " is paralleled' by " scent," and is possibly due to the Fr. scier, saw; the word means " an instrument for cutting," and is derived from the root sak-, seen in Lat. secure, to cut, " saw " and " sickle," the oldest of reaping implements, with deep curved blade and short handle. The same root is seen in the " sedge," i.e. cutting or sword-grass, strictly applied to plants of the genus Carex, but loosely used of flags, rushes and other grasses growing in marshy places (see REAPING).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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