noun, often attributive
\ ˈsȯrd \

Definition of sword 

1 : a weapon (such as a cutlass or rapier) with a long blade for cutting or thrusting that is often used as a symbol of honor or authority

2a : an agency or instrument of destruction or combat

b : the use of force the pen is mightier than the sword —E. G. Bulwer-Lytton

3 : coercive power

4 : something that resembles a sword

at swords' points

: mutually antagonistic : ready to fight

Illustration of sword

Illustration of sword

sword 1: 1 pommel, 2 hilt, 3 guard, 4 blade

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Other words from sword

swordlike \ˈsȯrd-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for sword


blade, brand, steel

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Examples of sword in a Sentence

once upon a time dueling with swords was the gentlemanly way to settle a point of honor

Recent Examples on the Web

Previously, the brooch was given to the top female air force cadet, but that year, it was decided that women should be awarded the same way men are: with a sword. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Kate Middleton Broke Maternity Leave to Attend the Royal Air Force Anniversary," 10 July 2018 But when officers arrived about 2:40 p.m. Sunday, Larry San Nicolas came out the side door of the house and down the driveway with a sword over his head. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Dashcam video offers better picture of Grandview police shooting, Highway Patrol says," 5 July 2018 The California officer who impounded the vehicle found a medical card with Cunningham’s name on it in the passenger compartment, as well as a samurai sword, sheathed and wrapped in a blanket in the trunk, the charges say. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "DNA found on samurai sword leads to murder charge, warrant against former Island County man," 3 July 2018 A dozen warriors in green tunics and crimson cloaks march down a long central staircase, brandishing golden swords and shields. Charlie Campbell / Kunming, Time, "Finding Love in the Kingdom of the Little People," 1 June 2018 Tokyo's itinerary featured a mix of metropolitan marvels, like a visit to the world's busiest pedestrian crossing in Shibuya, to a personal samurai sword demonstration performed at Tokyo's Samurai Museum. USA TODAY, "How to experience authentic Japan," 31 May 2018 Tamasaki was killed, samurai sword in hand, by machine gun fire. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Thousands of Japanese fought in a bloody World War II battle for the Aleutians. Only 28 survived.," 24 May 2018 Investigators said that Javier allegedly bought a samurai sword last week and taped it and two other knives to the side of their bed. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Woman Allegedly Plotted to Murder Boyfriend with Samurai Sword After Finding Tinder on His Phone," 7 Mar. 2018 The cuts matched a samurai sword that was also found in the room. Jeff Weiner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Man's death sentence in Daytona Beach sword killing overturned for the 3rd time," 23 Feb. 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for sword

Middle English, from Old English sweord; akin to Old High German swert sword

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Statistics for sword

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sword

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

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More Definitions for sword



English Language Learners Definition of sword

: a weapon with a long metal blade that has a sharp point and edge


\ ˈsȯrd \

Kids Definition of sword

: a weapon having a long blade usually with a sharp point and edge

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Comments on sword

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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