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

Champagne bottles are sabered open with swords and free Lexus shuttles stop for anyone who doesn’t feel like walking more than a block. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "Diamonds, caviar and the Instagram-famous: Inside America's most exclusive food festival," 19 June 2018 Police also killed a woman wielding a sword in the Northland. Max Londberg, kansascity, "'You could see bullets flying': Video, witness depict downtown KC police shooting," 15 June 2018 Like a sword in a stone, the beam angles from the top of the tower through the red-tiled roof of an adjacent former warehouse, anchoring in the floor below. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "Shape-Shifting Art Tower Completes Prada’s City Within a City," 15 June 2018 Lana Del Rey, 32, had a heart chest piece pierces with swords often adorned on renderings of a mourning Mary, mother of Jesus. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "The Met Gala's 'Catholic Imagination' Theme Called 'Blasphemous' and 'Sacrilegious' by Critics," 8 May 2018 The sword, too, was damaged in the 1970s, Lynch said. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale American Legion restoring statue with new medallion, nearly 90 years after original was stolen," 10 July 2018 The arm's hand grips a curved sword, with blood dripping from it. Adam Fisher, WIRED, "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns," 10 July 2018 Practitioners spend hours in costumes that evoke military traditions, learning Russian military history and fencing with sharp swords, including foils, epees and sabres. Mauricio Savarese, Fox News, "World Cup host set for historical fencing to forget soccer," 1 July 2018 Forum is often a big production, all flashing swords, swirling togas, and elaborate sets, as in the great version at the Walnut Street Theatre last fall. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Princeton Festival presents a wild, tuneful, stripped-down 'Forum'," 12 June 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

4 Nov 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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