\ˈshēth \
plural sheaths\ ˈshēt͟hz , ˈshēths \

Definition of sheath 

1 : a case for a blade (as of a knife)

2 : an investing cover or case of a plant or animal body or body part: such as

a : the tubular fold of skin into which the penis of many mammals is retracted

b(1) : the lower part of a leaf when surrounding the stem

(2) : an ensheathing spathe

3 : any of various covering or supporting structures that resemble in appearance or function the sheath of a blade: such as

a : sheathing sense 2

b : a woman's close-fitting dress that is usually worn without a belt

c British : condom sense 1

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Examples of sheath in a Sentence

the sheath of a sword a piece of wire covered with a plastic sheath

Recent Examples on the Web

Trump stood out standing next to British Prime Minister Theresa May, in a berry-red sleeveless sheath gown plus red pumps a bit higher than her usual kitten heels. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Melania Trump stuns in sweeping Grecian-goddess J. Mendel gown for dinner at Churchill's palace," 12 July 2018 Both Markle and Clooney's yellow dresses featured a sheath silhouette and a midi hemline—and both women topped them off with a pair of pointy toe pumps. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Channels Amal Clooney's Royal Wedding Yellow," 5 July 2018 Maxwell, an American designer and stylist, is known for dressing celebrities like Lady Gaga and Blake Lively, and the sleeveless sheath originally retails for $1,495. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "Why Meghan Markle’s Brandon Maxwell Dress Is a Major Break From Her Style Norms," 5 July 2018 In addition to his bloody clothes, Kastberg also had an empty knife sheath on his belt, filings show. Travis Andersen,, "Holland man allegedly kills estranged wife and tells witness, ‘the dogs did that’," 3 July 2018 Trim logs for the fire, cut rope for the tent or cut apple slices for the kids with this handsome new 6-inch, steel-blade knife with a walnut handle and waxed canvas sheath. Sara Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "7 fun additions for your camping kit," 2 July 2018 Amal Clooney was among the first to arrive in this most amazing sunshine-yellow Stella McCartney midi-sheath. Elizabeth Wellington,, "Royal wedding fashion: Meghan Markle sparkles in Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy | Elizabeth Wellington," 19 May 2018 Yesterday, Meghan Markle made a stunning appearance at the Your Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception in a sunny yellow Brandon Maxwell sheath dress. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Broke Her Streak of Wearing Female-Led Brands at Official Events," 6 July 2018 And today at the Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at Kensington Palace, the Duchess sought to marry her American heritage with her new role in Brandon Maxwell’s cheery sunflower yellow sheath dress. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Nods to the Fourth of July By Wearing This American Label," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sheath.' 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 sheath

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sheath

Middle English shethe, from Old English scēath; akin to Old High German sceida sheath and perhaps to Latin scindere to split — more at shed

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Statistics for sheath

Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sheath

The first known use of sheath was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sheath



English Language Learners Definition of sheath

: a cover for the blade of a knife, sword, etc.

: a protective covering

: a close-fitting dress that does not usually have a belt


\ˈshēth \
plural sheaths\ ˈshēt͟hz \

Kids Definition of sheath

1 : a case for a blade (as of a knife)

2 : a covering that surrounds and usually protects something


\ˈshēth \
plural sheaths\ ˈshēt͟hz , ˈshēths \

Medical Definition of sheath 

1 : an investing cover or case of a plant or animal body or body part: as

a : the tubular fold of skin into which the penis of many mammals is retracted

b : the connective tissue of an organ or part that binds together its component elements and holds it in place

Other Words from sheath

sheathed adjective

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Comments on sheath

What made you want to look up sheath? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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