- a clublike armor-breaking weapon of war, often with a flanged or spiked metal head, used chiefly in the Middle Ages.
- a ceremonial staff carried before or by certain officials as a symbol of office.
- Billiards. a light stick with a flat head, formerly used at times instead of a cue.
- a spice ground from the layer between a nutmeg shell and its outer husk, resembling nutmeg in flavor.
- Also called Chemical Mace. a nonlethal spray containing purified tear gas and chemical solvents that temporarily incapacitate a person mainly by causing eye and skin irritations: used especially as a means of subduing rioters.
verb (used with object), Maced, Mac·ing.
- (sometimes lowercase) to attack with Mace spray.
- trademark a liquid causing tears and nausea, used as a spray for riot control, etc
- (tr; sometimes not capital) to use Mace on
- a club, usually having a spiked metal head, used esp in the Middle Ages
- a ceremonial staff of office carried by certain officials
- See macebearer
- an early form of billiard cue
- a spice made from the dried aril round the nutmeg seed
n.1“heavy metal weapon, often with a spiked head,” late 13c., from Old French mace “a club, scepter” (Modern French masse), from Vulgar Latin *mattea (cf. Italian mazza, Spanish maza “mace”), from Latin mateola (in Late Latin also matteola) “a kind of mallet.” The Latin word perhaps is cognate with Sanskrit matyam “harrow, club,” Old Church Slavonic motyka “mattock,” Old High German medela “plow” [Klein]. As a symbol of authority or office from mid-15c. n.2“spice made from dry outer husk of nutmeg,” late 14c., from Old French macis (in English taken as a plural and stripped of its -s), of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be a scribal error for Latin macir, the name of a red spicy bark from India, but OED finds this etymology unlikely. n.3chemical spray originally used in riot control, 1966, technically Chemical Mace, a proprietary name (General Ordnance Equipment Corp, Pittsburgh, Pa.), probably so called for its use as a weapon, in reference to mace (1). The verb is first attested 1968. Related: Maced; macing.
- An alternate trademark for Chemical Mace, an aerosol used to immobilize an attacker temporarily.