You might see the leader of a royal procession carrying a mace, or ceremonial staff. The word mace can also refer to two very different weapons: a long stick with spikes on the end or a chemical irritant that you spray in someone's eyes. Ouch!

Ever see a film about medieval knights battling one another? The spiked weapon that some knights used was called a mace — and it could put quite a dent in your skull. Because we’re all much more civilized now, we don’t use iron maces anymore, but police officers and riot police do use a chemical spray called Mace, which has much the same effect. It was invented in 1968, just in time to deal with pesky student agitators and the like. Get that in your eyes and it’ll ruin your day.

Definitions of mace
  1. noun
    a ceremonial staff carried as a symbol of office or authority
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a rod carried as a symbol
  2. noun
    an official who carries a mace of office
    synonyms: macebearer, macer
    see moresee less
    type of:
    functionary, official
    a worker who holds or is invested with an office
  3. noun
    a heavy war club, typically with a spiked metal head
    see moresee less
    type of:
    stout stick that is larger at one end
  4. noun
    (trademark) a liquid that temporarily disables a person; prepared as an aerosol and sprayed in the face, it irritates the eyes and causes dizziness and immobilization
    synonyms: Chemical Mace, Mace
    see moresee less
    type of:
    CN gas, chloroacetophenone
    a tear gas that is weaker than CS gas but lasts longer
  5. verb
    spray with a liquid that irritates the eyes and temporarily disables a person
    see moresee less
    type of:
    injure, wound
    cause injuries or bodily harm to
  6. noun
    spice made from the dried fleshy covering of the nutmeg seed
    see moresee less
    type of:
    any of a variety of pungent aromatic vegetable substances used for flavoring food
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month