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.

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

    ‘Tettigoniidae show that about 80% of the strigil is used in any one stroke.’
    ‘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.’


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