Glossary of Bayonet Terms

While far from exhaustive, the following addresses many of the most common bayonet terms, including all terms listed in the Bayonet Terminology Diagrams.


Back: Lower faces of a triangular socket bayonet blade.

Back Edge: The ridge along the back of a triangular socket blade.

Back Flute: The hollow-ground portion of a triangular socket bayonet blade back.

Basal: At the base of. For example, a basal locking ring is at the very rear of the socket.

Belt Loop: The portion of a belt frog that encircles the equipment belt.

Cross-Section: A description of the blade, as sectioned through the middle and viewed end-on.

Blade: The business end of a bayonet.

Blood Groove: Myth. No such thing. See, Fuller.

Body: The main section of a scabbard that encloses the blade.

Bolo: Blade designed for cutting vegetation.

Bore: Inside socket diameter.

Bowie: See Clip-Point.

Bridge: Raised portion of a collar that allows a stud or front sight to pass through when mounting and dismounting.

Chape: The brass or steel mount at the point of a leather-bodied scabbard.

: A lateral hole through the grip scales and tang, that enables removal of debris from inside a hollow bayonet hilt.

Clip-Point: Blade profile with a curved false edge at the point. Also referred to as a Bowie, after American frontiersman James 'Jim' Bowie.

Collar: Raised reinforcement at the socket rear that prevents the socket from deforming when the bayonet is subjected to side-loads.

Crosspiece: The structure that makes up the front of the hilt, perpendicular to the blade. The crosspiece includes the muzzle ring, if present. The lower portion of the crosspiece is sometimes called the quillion.

Cruciform: Cross-like.

Double-Edged: A blade with two true edges, usually with a diamond cross-section.

Edge: 1) The portion of the knife or sword bayonet blade ground as if to create a cutting surface; 2) The ridge along the sides of a triangular socket blade face.

Elbow: The portion of a socket bayonet that connects the socket and blade.
Epee (French): Sword.

Face: Upper surface of a triangular socket bayonet blade.

Face Flute: Hollow-ground portion of a socket bayonet blade face.

False Edge: A partial edge ground opposite the true edge. The false edge is not fully ground and cannot be used for cutting.

Ferrule: A metal ring between a plug bayonet’s grip and crosspiece.

Finial: A ball or other decorative detail. Usually found at the end of the scabbard or crosspiece.

Flute: The hollow-ground portion of a socket bayonet blade.

Frog: A sheath for securing the scabbard to an equipment belt.

Frog Stud: The button or flange attached to a scabbard body, used to secure the scabbard to a frog.

Front Piece: The portion of a frog that includes the frog stud hole.

Fuller: The longitudinal groove in a knife or sword blade. Mistakenly called a “blood groove.” The fuller reduces weight and adds strength, by making the blade behave like an I-beam.

Grip: The portion of the hilt between the crosspiece and pommel.

Hilt: The portion of the bayonet made up by the pommel, grip, and crosspiece.

Hilt Strap: A strap sometimes found on the frog’s belt loop for securing the hilt.

Inverted: Blade profile where the true edge faces upward.

Knife Bayonet: A short bayonet that mounts to a musket/rifle by means of a hilt, typically with a blade not more than 10–12 inches in length.

Locket: The brass or steel mount at the top of a leather scabbard. The locket usually includes the throat and frog stud.

Locking Ring: A securing device commonly found on socket bayonets.

Medial: At the mid-point of. For example, a medial locking ring is at the middle of the socket.

Mortise: The mounting slot typically found in the socket or pommel.

Mount: Alternate term sometimes used to refer to a locket or chape.

Mouth or Mouthpiece: See Throat.

Muzzle Ring: A support ring at the upper end of the crosspiece that surrounds the muzzle.

Pipeback: See Quillback.

Plug Bayonet: The earliest bayonet design, that mounted by inserting the grip into a musket bore.

Point: The tip of the blade or scabbard.

Pommel: The rear most portion of the hilt. The pommel usually incorporates the mortise and press stud (or spring catch).

Press Stud: Spring-loaded stud commonly used to attach sword and knife bayonets.

Profile: A description of the blade, as viewed from the side.

Quillback: Blade profile, incorporating a round spine, resembling a feather’s quill.

Quillion: An alternate term for the lower crosspiece. Most often used when the lower crosspiece is hooked.

Ricasso: Flat at the base of the blade, between the edge and the crosspiece.

Rod: Parallel-sided blade profile, typically of round or triangular cross-section.

Sawback: Blade profile that incorporates a series of saw teeth along the spine.

Scabbard: A type of sheath used protect the blade and facilitate carrying when unmounted. “Sheath,” is not an appropriate term when referring to a bayonet or sword scabbard.

Scales: Contoured plates attached to the tang to form a gripping surface, typically made of wood, plastic, or metal.

Shoulder: 1) Portion of a socket bayonet where the blade narrows to join the elbow. 2) Raised area on a socket, against which the locking ring bears.

Socket: Portion of a socket bayonet that surrounds the musket/rifle barrel.

Socket Bayonet: A bayonet that mounts to a musket or rifle by means of a socket.

Spike: Tapered blade profile, typically of round or cruciform cross-section.

Spine: The upper surface of a knife or sword blade, opposite the true edge.

Spring Catch: Generic term used to describe a spring-loaded mounting catch that operates by means other than a press stud.

Swell: The widest point along a tapered plug bayonet grip.

Swell Point: A blade profile where the blade widens between the ricasso and point (e.g., German M1898/05).

Sword Bayonet: A long bayonet that mounts to a musket/rifle by means of a hilt, typically with a blade in excess of 10–12 inches in length.

T-Back: Blade profile with a T-shaped cross-section.

Tang: The butt end of the blade, central to the hilt, that typically joins to the pommel.

Taper: The narrow portion of a plug bayonet grip, between the swell and the pommel.

Thorn: A metal stud used to secure a leather tab, such as on a hilt strap.

Throat or Throatpiece: Scabbard mouth, into which the blade is inserted.

True Edge: The fully-ground edge of a knife or sword bayonet.

Unfullered: Blade without fullers.

Yataghan: Graceful double-curve blade profile used on sword bayonets. The double-curve allows long blades to hang well from an equipment belt, while keeping the point in alignment with the hilt for thrusting efficiency.

© Ralph E. Cobb 2013 All Rights Reserved
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