1. A reaping instrument consisting of a steel blade curved into the form of a hook, and having a handle fitted on a tang. The sickle has one side of the blade notched, so as always to sharpen with a serrated edge. Cf. Reaping hook, under Reap. "When corn has once felt the sickle, it has no more benefit from the sunshine." (Shak)

2. <astronomy> A group of stars in the constellation Leo.

<botany> Sickle pod, a kind of rock cress (Arabis Canadensis) having very long curved pods.

Origin: OE. Sikel, AS. Sicol; akin to D. Sikkel, G. Sichel, OHG. Sihhila, Dan. Segel, segl, L. Secula, fr. Secare to cut; or perhaps from L. Secula. See Saw a cutting instrument.

(01 Mar 1998)

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