Definition of sward
1 : a portion of ground covered with grass
2 : the grassy surface of land
swardedplay \ˈswȯr-dəd\ adjective
sward was our Word of the Day on 02/16/2017. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Sward, which sprouted up in the English language more than 500 years ago, is currently used more frequently as a surname than as a noun having to do with lawns and the like. Still, you'll find the occasional reference to a "green sward" or "grassy sward" in newspapers. And the term pops up in a number of old novels, such as in this quote from Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles: "The sun was so near the ground, and the sward so flat, that the shadows of Clare and Tess would stretch a quarter of a mile ahead of them...." "Sward" at one time referred to skin or rind, and especially to the rind of pork or bacon, although this meaning is now archaic. The word comes from the Old English "sweard" or swearth, meaning "skin" or "rind."
Origin and Etymology of sward
Middle English, from Old English sweard, swearth skin, rind; akin to Middle High German swart skin, hide
First Known Use: 15th century
SWARD Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sward for English Language Learners
: an area of land covered with grass
Seen and Heard
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