c. 1300, ceptre, from Old French sceptre (12c.), from Latin sceptrum "royal staff," from Greek skeptron "staff to lean on; royal scepter;" in transferred use, "royalty," from root of skeptein "to prop or stay, lean on." Apparently a cognate with Old English sceaft (see shaft (n.1)). The verb meaning "to furnish with a scepter" is from 1520s. Related: sceptred.