\ ˈswȯrd How to pronounce sward (audio) \

Definition of sward

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

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Other Words from sward

swarded \ ˈswȯr-​dəd How to pronounce swarded (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 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

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Time Traveler for sward

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

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Last Updated

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sward.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sward. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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How to pronounce sward (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sward

literary : an area of land covered with grass

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).


heavy with or as if with moisture

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