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


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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 These influence cards can have crown, raven, sword, or skull symbols, or some combination of those. Keith Law, Ars Technica, "Turn your tabletop into a real Game of Thrones with Oathbreaker game," 23 Nov. 2019 Luckily, Chloe wasn't interested in suits of armor, swords or tales of beheadings. Alexandra Pecci, chicagotribune.com, "In England, history gets more accessible," 25 Oct. 2019 Luckily, Chloe wasn’t interested in suits of armor, swords or tales of beheadings. Washington Post, "Making ancient sites accessible in England," 23 Oct. 2019 The Roman reprisals for the British rebellion were severe, and Tacitus described how settlements were ravaged by fire and sword. Richard Hingley, National Geographic, "Big, bad Boudica united thousands of ancient Britons against Rome," 22 Oct. 2019 For 25 years, Donald Valadao has donned a doublet, breastplate, helmet and sword — and stepped into the boots of 16th century explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Portraying explorer Juan Cabrillo is second nature for San Diegan," 26 Sep. 2019 More people are interested in trying their hand at swinging a sword or bashing a shield as an alternate form of exercise or experience. Lily Shaw, Twin Cities, "Startup Showcase: Providing a fighting chance for actors doing battle," 22 Sep. 2019 Players can transform their X-baton into a gun, baton or sword. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Astral Chain’ challenges players by pushing boundaries of action game," 13 Sep. 2019 Pikes and swords were less of a threat than musket fire. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Century-Long Evolution of the U.S. Army Helmet," 27 June 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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Time Traveler for sword

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sword

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sword.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sword?pronunciation&lang=en_us&file=sword001. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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

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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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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