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

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Other Words from sword

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

Two days later, a man was stabbed to death with a samurai sword in broad daylight in Stuttgart, allegedly by his former roommate — a foreigner seeking asylum. Los Angeles Times, "Violence by refugees and far-right extremists is darkening political attitudes in Germany," 22 Aug. 2019 At that decibel level, inviting a fake Oprah Winfrey, cutting your wedding cake with a samurai sword, and blatantly staging a fist-fight starts to seem like casual behavior. Aja Romano, Vox, "Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau’s giant YouTuber wedding married reality TV to the internet," 30 July 2019 Gray cited a 2009 killing in which a 21-year-old Johns Hopkins student used a 3- to 5-foot-long samurai sword to fend off an intruder in his backyard. Erin Logan, baltimoresun.com, "Legal experts weigh in on potential prosecution of Woodbine fatal shooting case," 25 July 2019 Last night, the celebrated designer enjoyed his first solo exhibition in over a decade; a showcase of his wide-ranging works that included cloisonné enamel armchairs, unweaponized samurai swords with lacquered sheaths, and vibrant Murrina desks. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "The Hot Seat: Designer Marc Newson Is Celebrated With a Gagosian Gallery Show," 19 Jan. 2019 His sword, axe and a fire striker, which was a common possession for Vikings, didn't originate there. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Scientists try to crack the mysterious case of a medieval skeleton once used as Nazi propaganda," 22 Aug. 2019 The hops-laden assortment of hoodies and T-shirts came emblazoned with swords and other motifs from the period. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "With His Latest Outfit, Post Malone Is Serving Game of Thrones Realness," 7 Aug. 2019 But the fact they’ve been given high-profile attention by Vladimir Putin is clearly a way to signal to both his domestic and international audiences that Russia won’t let its nuclear sword be blunted. Alex Wellerstein, Quartz, "America’s nuclear-weapons policy isn’t what you think—it’s much worse," 6 Aug. 2019 At the Carmelite convent and the Abbaye jail in Paris, the crowd killed the priests, after summary judgment, with swords, knives, and clubs. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "A Play with No End," 22 July 2019

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 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 How to pronounce sword (audio) \

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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