One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A rounded knob on the end of the handle of a sword, dagger, or old-fashioned gun.
- ‘The earliest item is a Viking bronze sword pommel from the late tenth century incised with diamond shapes and simplified animal forms.’
- ‘These early swords usually had pommels and crossguards made up of layers of organic material such as wood, bone or horn; which were often sandwiched, embellished with, or even completely covered by, bronze, gold and silver.’
- ‘This done he attached a crossguard, handle and pommel of a simple sword.’
- ‘Two guards stood on duty just outside the entrance, hands resting on their sword pommels; one dressed in blue and silver, the other in grey and green.’
- ‘This year's excavation returned to the metalworking area outside the mound's ditch and uncovered a wealth of finds including a sword pommel and ingot mould.’
2The upward curving or projecting part of a saddle in front of the rider.
- ‘As he reached the ground his pony started to run and was dragging the body which was evidently attached by a lariat to the pommel of his saddle.’
- ‘Their riot helmets rest quietly on the pommels of their saddles, but the body language of the officers is hostile.’
- ‘He died in September 1087 after suffering from major internal injuries when his horse, scared by embers in a burning Norman village, reared and rammed the pommel on the saddle into William's stomach.’
- ‘He could see long, curving horns attached where the pommel would be on a normal saddle, and the rider carried a shield and a long stave, and had a sword sheathed at her hip.’
- ‘The grey changed leads again, clumsily, and crashed over the obstacle, ramming the pommel of the saddle into Michael's belly.’
verbpommeling, pommelled, pommels, pommeled, pommelling
- another term for pummel
- ‘Coming away from one song, during a moment of relative quiet, John simply pommeled the keyboard with a wrist or an elbow, as if to demonstrate that the tones we were hearing were genuine and uncontrived.’
- ‘Xavier smiled encouragingly at her, and Zeya looked ready to pommel anyone who touched her.’
Middle English (denoting a finial at the top of a tower): from Old French pomel, from a diminutive of Latin pomum ‘fruit, apple’.
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