noun, often attributive
\ ˈsȯrd How to pronounce sword (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sword

swordlike \ ˈsȯrd-​ˌlīk How to pronounce swordlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for sword


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 This is a sword-and-sorcery show at heart, and the season 1 finale was the best kind of epic fantasy battle. Christian Holub, EW.com, "The best animated shows (and episodes) of the decade," 19 Dec. 2019 Corry has been arrested three times since June, including suspicion of DUI, one incident related to suspected domestic-violence, and allegedly threatening people with a sword. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Jeffco DA seeks temporary counsel to advise I-70 truck driver because of defense attorney’s legal troubles," 10 Oct. 2019 Needless to say, my father’s recounting of this cold-blooded beheading of a man with a sword became deeply etched in my young mind. Haruki Murakami, The New Yorker, "Abandoning a Cat," 30 Sep. 2019 Outside of his home, surveillance cameras captured a man identified by officials as Miller trying to slash Beavers with a sword. Fox News, "Florida man arrested, caught on video using samurai sword to fight over wheelbarrow," 26 Sep. 2019 Still, HBO’s bloody swords-and-dragons fantasy is expected to collect plenty of gold during TV’s big bash. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "TV this week: Will ‘Game of Thrones’ clean up at the Emmys?," 22 Sep. 2019 His is among the 15,000 families of the Koli community, considered the original inhabitants of Mumbai, who stay along the coast of western Mumbai and are living with the sword of the upcoming coastal road project hanging over their necks. Nikhil S Dixit, Quartz India, "Mumbai’s small fishing community is relieved after a $2 billion road is stalled," 14 Aug. 2019 Arwine also is accused of physically assaulting both women with a sword. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "2 women sexually assaulted, attacked with sword in Alabaster; acquaintance held on $1.2 million bond," 4 June 2019 Bennett’s streets teem with unaffiliated scrivers, thieves, and swords-for-hire, and the novel’s final act — a heist and confrontation — sees Sancia breaking into the fantasy equivalent of a smart fortress. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Foundryside is a cyberpunk adventure wrapped in an epic fantasy novel," 23 Dec. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sword

Time Traveler for sword

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sword

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sword.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sword. Accessed 21 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sword


How to pronounce sword (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sword

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


\ ˈsȯrd How to pronounce sword (audio) \

Kids Definition of sword

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sword

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sword

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


good-natured easy friendliness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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