\ ˈswȯrd How to pronounce sward (audio) \

Definition of sward

1 : a portion of ground covered with grass
2 : the grassy surface of land

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sward

swarded \ ˈswȯr-​dəd How to pronounce sward (audio) \ adjective

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."

Examples of sward in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On offense, the Buckeyes split the sward between two players. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Tuf Borland’s all-around effort led Ohio State football’s Players of the Game against Rutgers," 8 Nov. 2020 The soft Smyrna rug in the hall yields to the tread like a mossy sward, while a circular art glass window fills the hall with a pleasant subdued light. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: An 1887 tour of the Villa Montezuma," 29 Sep. 2019

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

First Known Use of sward

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sward

Middle English, from Old English sweard, swearth skin, rind; akin to Middle High German swart skin, hide

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sward

Time Traveler for sward

Time Traveler

The first known use of sward was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about sward

Statistics for sward

Cite this Entry

“Sward.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sward. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sward


How to pronounce sward (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sward

literary : an area of land covered with grass

More from Merriam-Webster on sward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sward

Comments on sward

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!