\ˈwēld \
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

Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza in 2005, though the United Nations still classifies it as occupied because of the level of control wielded by Israel, which restricts the movement of people and goods. Anchorage Daily News, "Israelis kill at least 50 Palestinians protesting US Embassy move to Jerusalem," 14 May 2018 Another change will hit a product called Custom Audiences, a tool wielded expertly by President Trump’s digital campaign. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "What Hearings? Advertisers Still Love Facebook," 13 Apr. 2018 The sounds of hammers and nail guns wielded by construction crews mingle with the squawking of seagulls. Martin Kuz, San Antonio Express-News, "After the hurricane, the storm within," 9 Apr. 2018 People need to know that a car is a two-ton weapon that is as much a threat to the public safety when operated by a drunken fool as an AR-15 wielded by a sick kid. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "Drunken driving is a serious crime. Larry Krasner should treat it as one | Christine Flowers," 2 Mar. 2018 Black barbers in his Milwaukee neighborhood had been expertly wielding clippers to shape his friends’ ’fros, but couldn’t seem to tame his mop. Leilani Marie Labong, SFChronicle.com, "At the Culture of Hair salon, the mission is top of mind — and head," 5 July 2018 On the other hand, explosions are huge, and some of the heavier weapons are really satisfying to wield. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Anthem plays even smoother than Destiny, but BioWare's story will make or break it," 15 June 2018 As the documentary argues, Rogers wanted to wield the medium to his own ends. K. Austin Collins, HWD, "Won’t You Be My Neighbor?," 8 June 2018 Men still wield the power, so to see a woman have it on screen—even if a little deceptive—is interesting. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Anna Faris Is Done With One-Dimensional Characters in Rom Coms," 4 May 2018

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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Statistics for wield

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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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 \
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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Comments on wield

What made you want to look up wield? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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