\ ˈwēld How to pronounce wield (audio) \
wielded; wielding; wields

Definition of wield

transitive verb

1 chiefly dialectal : to deal successfully with : manage
2 : to handle (something, such as a tool) especially effectively wield a broom
3a : to exert one's authority by means of wield influence
b : to have at one's command or disposal did not wield appropriate credentials— G. W. Bonham

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Other Words from wield

wielder noun

Synonyms for wield


apply, exercise, exert, ply, put out

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Examples of wield in a Sentence

The man was wielding a gun. Can he wield a hammer? He wields a great deal of influence over his students.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Although mangabeys are known to use tools, researchers have not yet observed them wielding fly swatters. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Anthrax-carrying flies follow monkeys through the forest," 12 July 2019 These amendments were passed with bipartisan support in the House, as lawmakers of both parties grow increasingly concerned about how much power the executive branch wields in the US’s decisions about war. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Progressives just got a major win against Trump on Iran. Can they hold on to it?," 12 July 2019 The exploitation of ancient DNA is perhaps just the latest iteration of a long-standing problem in the wider discipline: the wielding of archaeological data for political purposes. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "When Ancient DNA Gets Politicized," 12 July 2019 Tourists linger in the crosswalk, doing jumping jacks for the camera or wielding selfie sticks. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The Revealing Reasons That People Visit the “Friends” Building," 10 July 2019 Some 33,000 years ago, a man was violently clubbed to death by a left-handed attacker wielding a club or similar object. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study concludes 33,000-year-old skull shows signs of blunt-force trauma," 6 July 2019 And someone like me: small, physically inept, and — (according to many commenters) not too bright and/or possibly deranged — has no business wielding a gun. Amy Dickinson, The Mercury News, "Ask Amy revisits the gun question that brought threats against her," 1 July 2019 And someone like me: small, physically inept, and -- (according to many commenters) not too bright and/or possibly deranged -- has no business wielding a gun. Ask Amy, oregonlive.com, "Ask Amy: Let’s talk about gun violence," 1 July 2019 And someone like me — small, physically inept and (according to many commenters) not too bright and/or possibly deranged — has no business wielding a gun. Amy Dickinson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ask Amy: Correcting the record on ammo and guns," 30 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wield.' 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 wield

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wield

Middle English welden to control, from Old English wieldan; akin to Old High German waltan to rule, Latin valēre to be strong, be worth

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Dictionary Entries near wield

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Statistics for wield

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wield

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

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More Definitions for wield



English Language Learners Definition of wield

: to hold (something, such as a tool or weapon) in your hands so that you are ready to use it
: to have and use (power, influence, etc.)


\ ˈwēld How to pronounce wield (audio) \
wielded; wielding

Kids Definition of wield

1 : to use (as a tool) in an effective way The knights wielded swords.
2 : exercise entry 2 sense 1 The banker wields great influence.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wield

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wield

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wield

Spanish Central: Translation of wield

Nglish: Translation of wield for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wield for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wield

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characterized by aphorism

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