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

Produced using the same methods that craft traditional samurai swords, these ultra-precise knives deliver unmatched quality and stability. Popular Mechanics, "These Precise Japanese Knives Are a Kitchen Must-Have," 11 Dec. 2018 An indefatigable executive widely respected in Hollywood, even by those who crossed swords with her, Ms. Kroll joined Warner in 1994. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, "Warner Bros. Shakes Up Senior Film Ranks, Ending a Power Struggle," 9 Jan. 2018 Yeoh, 56, has played many powerful women in her 30-plus-year career, which includes roles as a Bond girl, Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and a sword-wielding fighter in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Michelle Yeoh Hopes Crazy Rich Asians Will Turn the Trickle of Diversity in Hollywood "Into a Stream"," 27 Aug. 2018 For those of you unfamiliar with the '80s cartoon reference, She-Ra is the twin sister of He-Man, and a sword-wielding royal rebel known for her strength. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Favorite Princess as a Child Definitely Isn't Who You'd Expect," 14 Aug. 2018 Noelle specifically wanted to make Adora feel like a real person, even if becoming a powerful warrior with the help of an enchanted sword is pretty fantastical. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" Teaser Trailer Shows Adora Transforming Into the Iconic Warrior," 10 Sep. 2018 No nation’s weaponry matched a Hittite sword or chariot. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Hellzapoppin', which claims to be the world's largest touring freak show, is coming to Winter Park on Wednesday, June 27, bringing fire, swords and beds of nails. Trevor Fraser, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Hellzapoppin' Circus Sideshow aims for Winter Park," 27 June 2018 Folks doing the killings in urban Louisville and in rural communities like Benton and West Paducah and Grayson, where Kentucky's school killings have taken place, aren’t using knives, swords or nunchucks. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Any 'honest' talk about how to prevent school shootings has to include guns | Gerth," 26 Jan. 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

14 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on sword

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sword

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sword

Spanish Central: Translation of sword

Nglish: Translation of sword for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sword for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sword

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 settle judicially or to act as judge

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