Definition of lictor in US English:



  • (in ancient Rome) an officer attending the consul or other magistrate, bearing the fasces, and executing sentences on offenders.

    • ‘If the legionnaires don't have the good eats, then how can they perform anything but abysmally for their lictors?’
    • ‘The fasces of ancient Roman times were of course the bundles of rods carried by the lictors to symbolize the great strength of the organized Roman people.’
    • ‘She hurried over to a pair of lictors who were lounging against a column and waiting for their senator to return from his private meeting.’
    • ‘Like the fasces carried by Roman lictors, weaving, in which separate strands are plaited together to form a new and far more robust entity, becomes the embodiment of communal strength and unity of purpose.’
    • ‘The fasces of Italian fascism are nicked from the fasces carried by the lictors, symbolising the unity of the Roman people.’
    • ‘The very word ‘Fascism’ is an allusion to the tied-up bundle of rods (the fasces) that the lictors of ancient Rome bore as a visible symbol of the united strength of the Roman people.’
    • ‘Thus, the (relatively light-skinned) lictor at right, far from exalting in his barbarous duties, leads Symphorien to his death with obvious reluctance; he is, in short, the very picture of pity and regret.’
    • ‘To flesh out further this last rather willfully provocative statement, we must return to the reaction elicited by the proletariat's principal surrogates in Saint Symphorien - the two foreground lictors.’
    • ‘To the right of Symphorien, who is led to his death by a pair of fasces-wielding lictors, a youth stoops to gather stones, which he will hurl at the saint's mother.’
    • ‘The peaceful panels with Numa and Pax thus frame the south processional frieze, which includes Augustus with priests and lictors, followed by members of the imperial family.’


Latin, perhaps related to ligare ‘to bind’.