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 sword (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 There are no sharp edges here — even the samurai sword, which seems destined for some dramatic symbolic purpose, is rarely unsheathed, with its chief victim being a tin of cling peaches. Jessica Kiang, Rolling Stone, "‘The Water Man’ Review: Where the Mild Things Are," 5 May 2021 Too many workers have fallen on the sacrificial sword and begun to realize it’s not worth it. Bryan Robinson, Forbes, "6 Lessons Near Death Taught A Heart Attack Survivor That Changed His Career," 4 May 2021 The boy plunges the sword into a seal printed on their bodies, and moves on to the next one. Luke Winkie, Vulture, "The 20 Best Games on PlayStation Now," 4 May 2021 The sword, still stuck in the stone, is the centerpiece of a church in the Tuscan village of Montesiepi. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, "A Treasure Trove of Medieval Artifacts Stolen Over 30 Years Ago Has Just Been Recovered in Italy," 29 Apr. 2021 Accompanying the floral arrangement sat Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Navy cap and the sword given to him by his late father-in-law, King George VI. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "How the Queen Added a Beautiful Personal Gesture to Prince Philip’s Funeral," 17 Apr. 2021 The grand reverie of trans-faith communion was no more, and religion now seemed to bring the sword more than peace. Matthew Sitman, The New Republic, "Whither the Religious Left?," 15 Apr. 2021 The six-inch-tall Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Classified Series figure, retailing at $19.99, comes with Morning Light, the character's new sword. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Henry Golding's Snake Eyes revealed in new movie-accurate Hasbro toys," 9 Apr. 2021 Philip’s coffin coffin was draped in his personal standard, and topped with his Royal Navy cap and sword and a wreath of flowers. Time, "Queen Sits Alone at Funeral for Prince Philip to Set Example," 17 Apr. 2021

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

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sword.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sword. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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