assegai definition by Webster's New World
- a slender spear or javelin with an iron tip, used in S Africa
- a tree (Curtisia faginea) of the dogwood family, whose hard wood is used to make such spears
Origin: Portuguese azagaia ; from colloquial Arabic az-zaghāya ; from az, for al, the plush Berber zaghāyah, spear, probably ; from Berber (cf. Tuareg (a)zegiz, long-armed dagger)
assegai definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A light spear or lance, especially one with a short shaft and long blade for close combat, used by Bantu peoples of southern Africa.
- A southern African tree (Curtisia dentata) having wood used for making spears or lances.
Origin: Obsolete French azagaie, probably from Old Spanish azagayah, from Arabic az-zaġāya : al-, the + Berber zaġāya, spear.