Entries linking to sceptre
"staff of office peculiar to royalty or independent sovereignty," c. 1300, ceptre, from Old French ceptre, sceptre (12c.) and directly from Latin sceptrum "royal staff," from Greek skēptron "staff to lean on," in a Persian and Asian context, "royal scepter," in transferred use, "royalty," from root of skeptein "'to support oneself, lean; pretend something, use as a pretention." Beekes has this from a root *skap- (perhaps non-Indo-European) and compares Latin scapus "shaft, stalk," Albanian shkop "stick, scepter," Old High German skaft, Old Norse skapt, Old English sceaft "shaft, spear, lance" (see shaft (n.1)).
The verb meaning "to furnish with a scepter" is from 1520s; hence "invest with royal authority." Related: Sceptred.
word-ending that sometimes distinguish British from American English. In the U.S., the change from -re to -er (to match pronunciation) in words such as fibre, centre, theatre began in late 18c. and became standard there over the next 25 years at the urging of Noah Webster (the 1804 edition of his speller, and especially his 1806 dictionary). The -re spelling, like -our, however, had the authority of Johnson's dictionary behind it and was unmoved in Britain, where it came to be a point of national pride, contra the Yankees.
Despite Webster's efforts, -re was retained in words with -c- or -g- (such as ogre, acre, the latter of which Webster insisted to the end of his days ought to be aker, and it was so printed in editions of the dictionary during his lifetime). The -re spelling generally is more justified by conservative etymology, based on French antecedents. It is met today in the U.S. only in Theatre as an element in the proper names of entertainment showplaces, where it is perhaps felt to inspire a perception of bon ton.
updated on August 23, 2013