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

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, chicagotribune.com, "‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ review: Richard Linklater’s latest, starring Cate Blanchett, is a bit of a bore," 15 Aug. 2019 For those of us with less keen wit and rapier reactions, those servers provide a certain charm - a disarming frank enjoyment of their duties - along with a whole lot of meat. Beth Segal, cleveland.com, "Cello’s Grill: Carnivorous pleasures abound at this Cleveland Brazilian-style steakhouse," 1 Aug. 2019 Johnson's supporters believe that his blend of superstar charisma and rapier intellect can find a solution to this impasse by sheer force of personality. Alexander Smith, NBC News, "Boris Johnson faces daunting challenges from Brexit to Iran," 23 July 2019 Madden posed with the equally suavely suited Elba (who eschewed black tie for a rapier-sharp gray Giorgio Armani check suit)—definitely two candidates for the evening’s best dressed (and rumoured OO7 contenders). Vogue, "Claire Foy, Idris Elba, Anna Wintour, Sophie Okonedo, Ralph Fiennes, and the Cast of Hamilton Fete the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards," 19 Nov. 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near rapier

rapido

rapid plant bug

rapid transit

rapier

rapine

rapini

rapist

Statistics for rapier

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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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 How to pronounce rapier (audio) \

Kids Definition of rapier

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

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