rapier

noun
ra·​pi·​er | \ ˈrā-pē-ər How to pronounce rapier (audio) \

Definition of rapier

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a straight 2-edged sword with a narrow pointed blade

rapier

adjective

Definition of rapier (Entry 2 of 2)

: extremely sharp or keen a rapier wit

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Did You Know?

Adjective

A rapier is a straight, two-edged sword with a narrow pointed blade, designed especially for thrusting. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "the long rapier was beautifully balanced, excellent in attack, and superb for keeping an opponent at a distance." The word itself, which we borrowed in the 16th century, is from Middle French rapiere. The first time that rapier was used as an adjective in its figurative "cutting" sense, it described a smile: "Who can bear a rapier smile? A kiss that dooms the soul to death?" ("The Lover's Lament" by Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, 1824). The adjective these days most commonly describes wit-an association that dates to the 1850s.

Examples of rapier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, its fighting system is loose and free-flowing, especially when using the rapier. Jonathan Peltz, Wired, "Olija Is an Indie Platformer Filled With Love, Loss, and Harpoons," 7 Apr. 2021 Hsieh delivered a rapier-like riposte to the question, followed by her trademark smile. Christina Macfarlane And Ben Church, CNN, "No sponsor? No problem. Tennis maverick Hsieh Su-Wei reflects on a memorable Australian Open," 23 Feb. 2021 Zorro, who, through the lensing of Hollywood, used his rapier to fight for the defrauded, the working class, and the oppressed, may not be a bad model during a pandemic marked by gross inequities. Rachel Lipstein, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the Quarantine Beard," 23 Apr. 2020 And when Cyrano confronts the man being lined up to marry his beloved Roxanne (Anita-Joy Uwajeh), their duel takes the form of a rap battle — the microphones in their hands being the closest these characters will come to a rapier. Demetrios Matheou, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Cyrano de Bergerac': Theater Review," 8 Dec. 2019 Meantime the director goes at the social satire with a bludgeon, not a rapier, so that the insufferably progressive liberal smugness, embodied in the Seattle private school Bee attends, grows tiresome. Michael Phillips, Twin Cities, "‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’: A brilliant, troubled architect becomes a bit of a bore," 16 Aug. 2019 Meantime the director goes at the social satire with a bludgeon, not a rapier, so that the insufferably progressive liberal smugness, embodied in the Seattle private school Bee attends, grows tiresome. Michael Phillips, Twin Cities, "‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’: A brilliant, troubled architect becomes a bit of a bore," 16 Aug. 2019 Meantime the director goes at the social satire with a bludgeon, not a rapier, so that the insufferably progressive liberal smugness, embodied in the Seattle private school Bee attends, grows tiresome. Michael Phillips, Twin Cities, "‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’: A brilliant, troubled architect becomes a bit of a bore," 16 Aug. 2019 Meantime the director goes at the social satire with a bludgeon, not a rapier, so that the insufferably progressive liberal smugness, embodied in the Seattle private school Bee attends, grows tiresome. Michael Phillips, Twin Cities, "‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’: A brilliant, troubled architect becomes a bit of a bore," 16 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But there’s a fine line between forceful leadership and churlish self-absorption, and foot stomping is less effective than shredding an opponent with a rapier wit. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Trump-Biden debate will feature mute button, rancor, and last chances: 5 things to watch," 22 Oct. 2020 Known for his rapier wit, Murphy likes to dig the verbal knife into players, always making sure to do so with their peers as witnesses. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy, who had a heart attack in August, has rejoined the team," 18 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rapier.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rapier

Noun

1553, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1824, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rapier

Noun

Middle French (espee) rapiere

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Last Updated

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rapier.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapier. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for rapier

rapier

noun

English Language Learners Definition of rapier

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a straight sword that has a narrow blade with sharp edges

rapier

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of rapier (Entry 2 of 2)

: extremely sharp

rapier

noun
ra·​pi·​er | \ ˈrā-pē-ər How to pronounce rapier (audio) \

Kids Definition of rapier

: a straight sword with a narrow blade having two sharp edges

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