type of heavy, single-edged sword, usually slightly curved, 1670s, from French sabre "heavy, curved sword" (17c.), alteration of sable (1630s), from German Sabel, Säbel, which probably is ultimately from Hungarian szablya "saber," literally "tool to cut with," from szabni "to cut." The Balto-Slavic words (Russian sablya, Polish szabla "sword, saber," Lithuanian šoblė) perhaps also are via German, but Italian sciabla seems to be directly from Hungarian. Saber-rattling "militarism" is attested from 1922. Saber-toothed cat (originally tiger) is attested from 1849, so named for the long upper canine teeth.
updated on October 31, 2021