A term popularly misapplied as a generic synonym for medieval swords. The now popular misnomer "broadsword" as a term for medieval blades actually originated with Victorian collectors in the early 19th century.
The term " broadsword" seems to have originated in the 17th century, referring to a double-edged military sword, with a complex hilt. A medieval sword was simply called a "sword," a "short sword" (in the works of George Silver), or an "arming sword."
Further complicating the issue is a "true broadsword," which is actually an 18th century short naval cutlass. The term did not take on the meaning of a wide-bladed medieval sword until the later 19th century. Since then, it has entered popular use by collectors, museum curators, fight directors, and authors. What should modern students call it? The word "sword," seems to work very well.
Medieval swords appeared in a variety of forms, but generally had a long, wide, straight, double-edged blade with a simple cross-guard (or "cruciform" hilt). The typical form was a single hand weapon used for hacking, shearing cuts and also for limited thrusting which evolved from the Celtic and Germanic swords of late Antiquity. Over time, the sword became more tapered and rigid, to facilitate thrusting, and began to add a series of protective rings to the hilt, to defend the fingers and hand. This was the birth of the "cut and thrust" or "sidesword."

Medieval glossary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Broadsword — may refer to: *Arming sword, the single handed cruciform sword of the High Middle Ages *Claymore, a Scottish broadsword *Dao (sword), a category of single edge Chinese swords primarily used for slashing and chopping *Greatsword, an extremely… …   Wikipedia

  • Broadsword — Broad sword , n. A sword with a broad blade and a cutting edge; a claymore. [1913 Webster] I heard the broadsword s deadly clang. Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • broadsword — O.E. brad swurd, from BROAD (Cf. broad) (adj.) + SWORD (Cf. sword) …   Etymology dictionary

  • broadsword — [brôd′sôrd΄] n. a sword with a broad, double edged blade, for slashing rather than thrusting: see SWORD …   English World dictionary

  • Broadsword — La broadsword est une « épée longue » écossaise du milieu du Moyen Âge principalement caractérisée par un panier, sorte de coque recouvrant la main sur la poignée, totalement recouvert intérieurement de velours. La lame de la broadsword …   Wikipédia en Français

  • broadsword — noun Date: before 12th century a large heavy sword with a broad blade for cutting rather than thrusting …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • broadsword — /brawd sawrd , sohrd /, n. a sword having a straight, broad, flat blade. [bef. 1000; ME brood swerd, OE brad sweord. See BROAD, SWORD] * * * …   Universalium

  • broadsword — noun A type of sword, usually a longsword, that has a broad cutting blade that does blunt damage as well as cutting damage. They were the pinnacle of medieval European sword technology …   Wiktionary

  • BROADSWORD — Computer Assisted Division Level Battle Simulation (Governmental » Military) …   Abbreviations dictionary

  • broadsword — broad|sword [ˈbro:dso:d US ˈbro:dso:rd] n a heavy sword with a broad flat blade …   Dictionary of contemporary English