rapier

noun
ra·pi·er | \ˈrā-pē-ər \

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

Excavation of a site at Cape Creek on Hatteras Island began in 1995, netting a copper signet ring and a rusted rapier, among other tantalizing artifacts. A. Roger Ekirch, WSJ, "‘The Secret Token’ Review: America’s First Unsolved Mystery," 17 June 2018 Certainly the eye is ready as never before to accept Fluevogs’ generous foot beds, thick and springy soles, decadent heels and often whimsically rounded toes (though there are also dainty and rapier-like toes). Linda Dyett, New York Times, "John Fluevog Is Cool Again. Maybe He Always Was.," 5 July 2018 Here and there, all the same, Barnes’s rapier wit flashes and glitters. New York Times, "He’s 19. She’s 48 and Married. When They Play Doubles Tennis, It’s a Match.," 26 Apr. 2018 The bird’s beak evolved to gather nectar from flowers with long tubular corollas, including a passionflower that is deeply reliant on the avian rapier for pollination. National Geographic, "Inside the Black Market Hummingbird Love Charm Trade," 18 Apr. 2018 The effect is devastating, a rapier to the president’s bludgeon. The Economist, "Why Stormy Daniels is so dangerous," 22 Mar. 2018 There is also a small sword, which is a martial weapon that came before single sword, and rapier, which is the type of weapon used by the Three Musketeers or the Count of Monte Cristo. Author: Tamara Ikenberg, Alaska Dispatch News, "Wielding battle axes, swords and whips, actors attack in “She Kills Monsters”," 29 Sep. 2017 The excavations, sponsored by the Croatoan Archaeological Society, have so far uncovered several artifacts that may have been made during Elizabethan times, including the handle of a rapier and bits of metal from clothing. Andrew Lawler, Smithsonian, "The Mystery of Roanoke Endures Yet Another Cruel Twist," 7 Apr. 2017 The outdoor festival setting is ideal for this cheerful, rapier-twirling spectacle. Chicago Reader, "Brave Like Them, The Bricklayers of Oz, and ten more new stage shows for the dog days," 2 Aug. 2017

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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Time Traveler for rapier

The first known use of rapier was in 1553

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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 \

Kids Definition of rapier

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rapier

Spanish Central: Translation of rapier

Nglish: Translation of rapier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rapier for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rapier

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