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

There, Cynthia inherits a Civil War sword that’s been passed down from generation to generation, and a rambling and incoherent letter that asserts its historical significance. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Sword of Trust,” Reviewed: A Mumblecore Comedy That Takes on the Pro-Confederate Right," 12 July 2019 The indie comedy from director Lynn Shelton, which opens July 19, finds Maron’s character on an adventure trying to sell a Civil War-era sword that may or may not prove the South actually won. Lindsey Bahr, BostonGlobe.com, "From his podcast to movies, it’s all personal for Marc Maron," 11 July 2019 Judith, dressed in black, wields a sword and glances at the viewer as the general writhes and a worried, wrinkled servant looks on. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Unidentified Buyer Adds to the Caravaggio Mystery," 25 June 2019 Martinez’s body was found in his apartment with more than 30 stab wounds, lying next to a 3 1/2-foot-long sword. Pauline Repard, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oregon man to face trial in 2006 La Mesa slaying using a sword," 19 June 2019 Learn how to wield a Japanese sword and witness an unforgettable performance by masters of kembu, or sword dance. National Geographic, "Japan Family Journey: From Ancient to Modern Times," 12 June 2019 Since another part of the lore of Azor Ahai involves him driving a sword through the heart of his true love, this could get extra on the nose, depending on how Jon does the deed. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "'Game of Thrones' Prophecies You Need to Remember Going into the Finale," 19 May 2019 In order to do that, He-Man has to retrieve a mythical sword in order to take on the role of the warrior, He-Man, and battle the villain, Skeletor. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Everything You Need To Know About Noah Centineo's New Movie "Masters Of The Universe"," 1 May 2019 Others were armed with non-traditional weapons such as a sword, hockey stick or machete, The Republic found. AZCentral.com, "Police shootings in Arizona," 19 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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Statistics for sword

Last Updated

15 Jul 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 desired as essential

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