One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A musical instrument of ancient Egypt consisting of a metal frame with transverse metal rods which rattled when the instrument was shaken.
- ‘Drums, sometimes very large, were important in Mesopotamian ritual, while the characteristic instrument of Egyptian ceremony was the sistrum or rattle.’
- ‘Two students composed a synthesized soundtrack that combined world beat rhythms with the beat of the sacred sistrum on every thrust of the harpoon.’
- ‘Deacons sing and accompany the song with drums and a sistrum as part of the mass.’
- ‘The carved head that is on the handle of the sistrum, is Hathor, the goddess of music.’
Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek seistron, from seiein ‘to shake’.
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