Definition of strigil in English:



  • 1An instrument with a curved blade used, especially by ancient Greeks and Romans, to scrape sweat and dirt from the skin in a hot-air bath or after exercise; a scraper.

    • ‘A student would use a strigil or bronze scraper to remove the olive oil he had applied.’
    • ‘After this a slave would rub olive oil into the visitor's skin and then scrap it off with a strigil.’
    • ‘Their simultaneous comprehension of immortal hope and carnal funk - of Zeus and strigils - persists, through their art.’
    • ‘Romans would sit and perspire, and their skin was scraped with a curved metal tool called a strigil.’
    • ‘After their competition the steamy athletes scraped off the oily mess with a strigil, which looks something like a sickle.’
  • 2Entomology
    A comblike structure on the forelegs of some insects, used chiefly for grooming.

    • ‘The pala is not a stridulatory organ, nor has it been shown conclusively that the peculiar strigil of these insects is concerned with sound production.’
    • ‘Tettigoniidae show that about 80% of the strigil is used in any one stroke.’


From Latin strigilis, from stringere ‘touch lightly’. The term in entomology dates from the late 19th century.