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or as·sa·gai  (ăs′ə-gī′)
1. A light spear or lance used by Bantu peoples of southern Africa.
2. A tall evergreen tree (Curtisia dentata) of southern Africa, having durable wood used for making weapons, furniture, and other wooden products, and bark that is used in traditional medicine.

[Early Modern English, from Middle French azagaye (probably via Old Spanish azagaya, a small spear or javelin), from Arabic az-zaġāya, the spear : al-, the + zaġāya, spear, of Berber origin; akin to Tuareg tăhġait, bayonet, from earlier *tăzġait (*tă-...-t, feminine noun circumfix).]


(ˈæsəˌɡaɪ) or


n, pl -gais
1. (Plants) a southern African cornaceous tree, Curtisia faginea, the wood of which is used for making spears
2. (Arms & Armour (excluding Firearms)) a sharp light spear, esp one made of this wood
[C17: from Portuguese azagaia, from Arabic az zaghāyah, from al the + zaghāyah assegai, from Berber]


or as•sa•gai

(ˈæs əˌgaɪ)

n., pl. -gais.
1. an iron-tipped spear used by Bantu peoples of S Africa.
2. a S African tree, Curtisia dentata, of the dogwood family, from whose wood such weapons were made.
[1615–25; earlier azagaia < Portuguese < Arabic az zaghāyah]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.assegai - the slender spear of the Bantu-speaking people of Africaassegai - the slender spear of the Bantu-speaking people of Africa
lance, spear, shaft - a long pointed rod used as a tool or weapon


nAssagai m
References in classic literature ?
Few have known it, for I have kept it locked in my breast, lest, thought I live now under the law of the White Man, and the Great Queen is my chieftainess, an assegai still might find this heart did any know my name.
I felt you start; you start as the regiment of the Bees started when Mopo walked before their ranks, and from the assegai in his hand the blood of Chaka[1] dropped slowly to the earth.
He stalked across the mountains and the veldt, his eyes blazed like the lightning, and in his hand he shook a little assegai that was red with blood.
As for Khiva himself, we buried what remained of him in an ant-bear hole, together with an assegai to protect himself with on his journey to a better world.
a native word meaning, I believe, an elephant, and the name given to Sir Henry by the Kafirs), he said, pointing towards the mountain with his broad assegai.
Umbopa, assegai in hand and a rifle across his shoulders, looked out fixedly across the desert a few paces ahead of us; while the hired natives, with the gourds of water, and Ventvogel, were gathered in a little knot behind.
Raise your war-cries, brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais in the kraal.
There's little doubt our politicians sorely underestimated the native force, armed with only hide shields, knobkerrie clubs, assegais - long, throwing spears - and shorter, stabbing spears dubbed iklwa, a Zulu word which described the slurping noise as the weapon was pulled from a victim.
Trying to accommodate this rich texture of meanings, the sentence could be translated as: "The induna baboon sits alert, it is beautiful to watch him, looking with such vigour as if his eyes are piercing like assegais, eyes that are so deep-seated they seem to drown from the sight of the setting sun--in fact the baboon looks at it as if he sees it for the last time before dying.
The Empire-grabbing reasons for being there may have been dubious, but I always think of the ordinary soldier, thousands of miles from home, in the fierce heat, listening to the menacing buzz of 4,000 assegais in the distance, beating against ox-hide shields as the Zulus advanced.
Everybody there appeared to be under arms, with machetes, staves and even assegais.
The result was that while the "invading" Africans were armed only with collapsible assegais (spears), white Afrikaner films extras had their own ideas about art reproducing reality, and were rumored to have secreted live ammunition into the laager for the "shooting.