\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wield

wielder noun

Synonyms for wield


apply, exercise, exert, ply, put out

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

More: Suspect arrested after Louisville police officer injured in chase Also: Knife-wielding man charged at LMPD sergeant and others inside Norton Hospital, police say Reach breaking news reporter Sarah Ladd at sladd@courier-journal.com. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Police: 3 people shot Thursday night near Hikes Point, 16-year-old in critical condition," 13 Sep. 2019 Initially the sword-wielding sport offered an extracurricular activity, the kind that might look appealing to an admissions officer at Purdue University or some other college. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'It was just us four': An Indianapolis mom prepares to bury her two teenagers," 5 Sep. 2019 The point is that ideals of manhood can be—and are—wielded by men in power to the majority of men’s detriment. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Being a “Real Man” Will Kill You," 29 Aug. 2019 The fact that Big Oil backed a regulation designed to stem emissions of a potent greenhouse gas was immediately wielded by Trump’s critics as evidence of how backward the move must be. Justin Worland, Time, "Why President Trump Cut a Methane Regulation That Even Big Oil Companies Wanted to Keep," 29 Aug. 2019 Wilentz details how, particularly in the Missouri crisis and the Dred Scott decision, the ambiguity latent in those compromises was wielded by both pro- and anti-slavery voices alike in pursuit of their ends. John Hirschauer, National Review, "What a Princeton Historian’s Critics Get Wrong about the Constitution and Slavery," 27 Aug. 2019 What good are reparations when the weapon of whiteness is wielded against us on a regular basis? Thembi Ford, Essence, "How My Vietnamese Nail Tech And I Bonded Over The Shared Experience Of Weaponized Whiteness," 28 June 2019 Less profane symbols and slogans were also wielded by protesters. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Cantonese is Hong Kong protesters’ power tool of satire and identity," 20 June 2019 In the race for governor, Trump is wielded as a political cudgel. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Why Bernie Sanders won’t join the Democratic Party," 7 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wield

Dictionary Entries near wield

wie geht's?







Statistics for wield

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wield

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!