AskDefine | Define sickle

Dictionary Definition

sickle n : an edge tool for cutting grass or crops; has a curved blade and a short handle [syn: reaping hook, reap hook]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old English sicol



  1. In the context of "agriculture": an implement, having a semicircular blade and short handle, used for cutting long grass and cereal crops


agricultural implement

See also


  1. In the context of "agriculture|transitive}} To cut with a sickle

Extensive Definition

A sickle is a curved, hand-held agricultural tool typically used for harvesting grain crop or cutting grass for hay. The inside of the curve is sharp, so that the user can draw or swing the blade against the base of the crop, catching it in the curve and slicing it at the same time. The material to be cut may be held in a bunch in the other hand (for example when reaping), held in place by a wooden stick, or left free. When held in a bunch, the sickle action is towards the user (left to right for a right-handed user), but when used free the sickle is usually swung the opposite way. Different types may be referred to as a grasshook, swap hook, rip-hook, reaping hook, brishing hook or bagging hook.
The blade of a sickle is often cranked to one side, to make it easier to keep the blade closer to the ground; this makes it right- or (more rarely) left-handed. Sickles used for reaping are usually serrated.
The sickle was largely superseded by the scythe, which is more comfortable and efficient to use for many purposes, but it continues in use in many parts of the world, and for certain uses where a scythe is not convenient. The most noticeable difference between a sickle and a scythe is the length of the handle – a sickle is a one-handed tool with a short handle, used while bending down to the ground, while a scythe is a two-handed tool, used standing up, with a long, often curved haft, and a much longer blade.
A blade which is used regularly to cut the silica-rich stems of cereal crops acquires a characteristic sickle-gloss, or wear pattern. When this pattern appears on ancient stone tools, it can indicate early use or development of agricultural use.
In Greek myths, the sickle was used as a weapon by Cronus and Perseus.

Additional uses

sickle in Aragonese: Falz
sickle in Aymara: Jusi
sickle in Bosnian: Srp
sickle in Catalan: Falç
sickle in Czech: Srp
sickle in Danish: Segl (redskab)
sickle in German: Sichel (Werkzeug)
sickle in Estonian: Sirp
sickle in Spanish: Hoz
sickle in Esperanto: Haktranĉilo
sickle in Basque: Igitai
sickle in French: Faucille
sickle in Galician: Fouce
sickle in Italian: Falcetto (attrezzo)
sickle in Hebrew: מגל
sickle in Latin: Falx
sickle in Luxembourgish: Séchel
sickle in Lithuanian: Pjautuvas
sickle in Macedonian: Срп
sickle in Dutch: Sikkel (werktuig)
sickle in Japanese: 鎌
sickle in Norwegian: Sigd
sickle in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sigd
sickle in Polish: Sierp
sickle in Portuguese: Foice
sickle in Russian: Серп
sickle in Sicilian: Runca
sickle in Simple English: Sickle
sickle in Finnish: Sirppi
sickle in Swedish: Skära
sickle in Telugu: కొడవలి
sickle in Thai: เคียว
sickle in Chinese: 镰刀
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