A type of two-handed sword which originated in Scotland. It has a slightly shorter blade length than your average European two-handed sword. They started out having a straight crossguard, like William Wallace's sword in Braveheart, but later developed a down-sloped crossguard with spatulate swellings (which look kind of like a certain kind of pasta). The so-called basket hilt claymores aren't actually claymores: they're broadswords, which have a straight blade and single edge. However, I think it is okay to call these broadswords basket-hilt claymores, as they are specific to one people (the Scots) and have a very distinct design.

Claymore refers to both the large, two-handed sword and the basket hilt claymore. The first reference to claymore is in the early 1700s and refers to the basket hilt. In the late 1700s references to the two handed version begin. Claude Blair wrote a monograph about the use of the word claymore (for more information).

A Claymore anti-personnel mine looks like a dark green, slightly curved, slab with two pointy things that you stick in the ground. The explosion is directional, that's to say it blasts out of the convex side.
The mine (besides its blast effect) does damage with steel balls.
The Claymore was used in jungle warfare in Vietnam, often as part of an ambush.

The business side of the mine is helpfully labelled THIS SIDE TOWARDS ENEMY, a very good design idea if you ask me.

Claymore may refer to one of six things, as far as I am aware of.

Most commonly, it is used about a two-handed scottish sword, famously carried by William Wallace in Braveheart, or the anti-personnel mine named after that weapon, the M18A1 Claymore. It is, however, confusingly also used about another kind of scottish sword, a broadsword, as well as (less confusingly) the name of a suburb of Sydney, a defunct American football team, and a manga. This writeup focuses on the swords.

The two-handed scottish claymore was used from around 1500 until maybe 1700 (so the use of the weapon in Braveheart seems to be anachronistic), and was somewhat shorter than the Zweihander of the german Landsknechts, with a typical blade length of 105-110 cm, and a hilt of 30ish cm. It seems it usually weighted in at about 2.5kg.

The basket-hilted claymore is an entirely different sword, more similar to the spanish schiavona. It is a straight, double-egded and single-handed weapon with a blade length of maybe 80-85cm (this length comes indirectly, from replica weapons I've seen), sporting a basket hilt that protects the hand of the wielder, and was in use from around 1700 until, I would suppose, WWI. It even saw some use in WWII, where English Commando Officer "Fighting" Jack Churchill successfully used it several times. Officers of the Royal Regiment of Scotland still carry these claymores as part of their ceremonial dress.

While some claim that the basket-hilted claymore is wrongly named, it is named so from historical sources. In fact, it seems that the first known written instance of the word "claymore" comes from after the two-handed sword was out of use, and replaced by the basked-hilted weapon.

Clay"more` (?), n. [Gael. claidheamhmor a broadsword; Gael. claidheamh sword + mor great, large. Cf. Claymore.]

A large two-handed sword used formerly by the Scottish Highlanders.


© Webster 1913.

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