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Old 1st December 2017, 12:04 PM   #28
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 24

The etymology given for the word "cutlass" is partly wrong. Cutlass, in it's current form, comes directly from French "coutelasse"/"coutelace" (thus the double S in English, if it had come from the more modern word "coutelas" it wouldn't carry the "S" sound), already attested in French in the 14th century. I find reference to variants such as "coutelesse", "courtelasse" (probably a sort of oral shift towards "courte", short, because it is a short sword/saber, and this is probably where the Dutch "kortelas" comes from in some way). It comes directly from the French "coutel", which itself comes from Latin cultellus. It evolved separately from the Latin root, it wasn't taken from Italian. By the way, the dialects of southern France and northern Italy were really a smooth transition from typical Italian to northern French (which later became the French language due to the fact it was the French spoken by the king and its civil officers, and the Parliament of Paris), forming a dialect continuum. But in every text there is, you'll find "coutelasse" or "coutelas" to mean a short sword or saber, exactly as in English, or maybe a sort of machete in 19th and 20th c. texts when talking about a colonial context.
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