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

John's father had been given the sword during his presidency. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "John F. Kennedy, Jr. Used George Washington's Actual Sword as a Prop for a George Cover," 12 Apr. 2019 Deputies found the sword lying in the yard, Mitchell said. Ashley Remkus, AL.com, "Sword-wielding wife fatally stabbed husband while he played guitar, sheriff says," 19 Apr. 2018 Imboden was the sort of kid who always picked up loose sticks and waved them around in imaginary sword fights. David Wharton, latimes.com, "Meet the top-ranked American fencer who's also a male model," 24 June 2018 Police say the man, who nearly had his finger cut off, received deep gashes in his arm and head from the impromptu sword fight. Josh Magness, kansascity, "Men duel with sword and 4-foot contractor's level in argument over parking spot, police say," 19 June 2018 Before the Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Winnipeg Jets, a pregame party featuring a drum line, archer, sword fight and knight slicing a jet was the talk of the town. Nihal Kolur, SI.com, "The Best of the Vegas Golden Knights Pre-Game Ceremonies," 21 May 2018 The occasion features roughly 40 volunteers dressed as pirates and a crew from the museum running costume contests, scavenger hunts for treasure, sword fights and fake cannon blasts. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Pirates take over Maritime Museum as part of two-day Pirate Days event," 20 May 2018 The fourth annual Pirates Ashore at the Mayflower Society House and around Plymouth features reenactors portraying colonists and privateers, cannon fire, a pirate encampment, a sword fight, and even a murder trial. BostonGlobe.com, "Five things to do around Boston, May 14-20," 11 May 2018 Her example reminds me of Alexander the Great, slicing through the knot with a sword instead of messing about trying to unpick it. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Kim, Kate, Juergen, Pam, and More Cheer on Vivienne Westwood as She Receives an Honor from the Fashion Awards," 5 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.

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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

6 May 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).


something valued as if it were money

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