1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Scythe
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” (snædan to cut, cf. Ger. schneiden). The word in O.E. is siðe or siþe 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. secare, 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).