- a rod or wand borne in the hand as an emblem of regal or imperial power.
- royal or imperial power or authority; sovereignty.
verb (used with object)
- to give a scepter to; invest with authority.
n.c.1300, ceptre, from Old French sceptre (12c.), from Latin sceptrum “royal staff,” from Greek skeptron “staff to lean on; royal scepter;” in transferred use, “royalty,” from root of skeptein “to prop or stay, lean on.” Apparently a cognate with Old English sceaft (see shaft (n.1)). The verb meaning “to furnish with a scepter” is from 1520s.