Definition of sheath in English:



  • 1A close-fitting cover for the blade of a knife or sword.

    • ‘The sheath appeared magnetic, needing little outer protection, except the leather that guarded the tip of the blade when it was in place.’
    • ‘He removed the sword from its gleaming sheath and stared at the blade.’
    • ‘Shaking his head at the stupidity of his thoughts, he pulled the sword from its sheath and swung the blade experimentally.’
    • ‘I pulled the sword out of the sheath, the silver blade glittering in the moonlight.’
    • ‘Consequently, anyone having reason to carry a cutlass or similar instrument in any public place is reminded to ensure that it is carried in a sheath or other covering.’
    • ‘There was a brown leather belt tied around her waist and it had a place for a dagger sheath and a sword sheath.’
    • ‘His lordship was careful to supply a sheath for each blade, lest anyone suspect he was inciting their use.’
    • ‘A belt that held the sheath of a sword was at his waist, without blade, and his heavy dark gray tunic was tied at his neck and covering most of his body.’
    • ‘There is a companion series of videos to cover holster making, knife sheaths, chap and saddle construction.’
    • ‘To me there are some jobs a fixed blade knife simply does better, but that means you must have a sheath or some protective package.’
    • ‘One of the robbers produced a commando style knife with an eight inch blade from a leather sheath, which he brandished towards the victim, ordering him to hand over his watch.’
    • ‘She pulled the sword in its protective sheath from her back and held it in front of her, admiring the worn leather.’
    • ‘Each wore a knife, tied around the waist by a strip of plain leather, and sheathed in a simple sheath of the same brown leather.’
    • ‘At the last possible moment the boy pulled a Bowie knife out of its sheath on his belt and deflected the sword.’
    • ‘Drawing the sword free of the sheath she inspected the blade.’
    • ‘Out of school, Scouts and fishermen would wear a sheath knife on a belt - I still remember my 4-inch blade in its sheath with the Scout logo.’
    • ‘He unstrapped the thin silver sword from the sheath of the porcelain blade.’
    • ‘After a brief silent interval the youths turned away laughing, carrying the sword in its lacquer sheath.’
    • ‘The anger was beginning to show as he took his sword from its sheath and positioned the blade so that it was at the guard's neck.’
    • ‘He pulled the knife from its sheath and the blade glistened in the late day sun.’
    scabbard, case
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A structure in living tissue which closely envelops another:
      ‘the fatty sheath around nerve fibres’
      • ‘The notochord sheath is a collagenous connective tissue.’
      • ‘Deep fascia provides muscle fibers with a protective outer sheath, and helps connect muscle to bone by way of ligaments.’
      • ‘The neurological condition is incurable and occurs when the protective sheath surrounding the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord is damaged.’
      • ‘All in all, the recent news is good because it means that the protective sheath around the nerve endings in his body, which were damaged in the attack, may be beginning to grow back.’
      • ‘There is a bunch of super thin muscle sheaths and tissue that surround our ribs which, when aggravated, take forever to heal.’
      • ‘These bunches of axons are wrapped in myelin sheaths and bundled like electrical wire.’
      • ‘It is the breakdown of the synovial tissue of tendon sheaths that gives rise to most ganglia.’
      • ‘For hundreds of years, scientists have studied plant cell walls - the protective sheaths that give plant cells shape and protect them from disease and dehydration.’
      • ‘Injection of joints, bursae, tendon sheaths, and soft tissues of the human body is a useful diagnostic and therapeutic skill for family physicians.’
      • ‘They travel to the brain and mount an assault on a substance called myelin, which acts as a protective sheath around nerve fibers.’
      • ‘Therefore we can describe the outer part of the filament as a tubular structure, or a sheath, that surrounds either a cell chain or a lumen.’
      • ‘These replicate the sheaths that, like the insulation around a bundle of electrical wires, surround nerves in the body.’
      • ‘Each individual, or zooid, is enclosed in a sheath of tissue, the zooecium, that in many species secretes a rigid skeleton of calcium carbonate.’
      • ‘The distal open end of the sheath is guided through a punctured hole in the interatrial septum and into the left atrium.’
      • ‘The larva wriggles around for a day or two at this level until a loose sheath of epidermal tissue encloses it.’
      • ‘The tendon, whose protective sheath ruptured Sept.26, runs around the back of his ankle.’
      • ‘This sheath is often closely fitting but is not in close contact with the cells.’
      • ‘The tumor infiltrated perineural sheaths and peripancreatic fatty tissue.’
      • ‘The vascular bundle is surrounded by a sclerenchymatic sheath and parenchyma with chloroplasts.’
      • ‘The median nerve and the tendon of palmaris profundus are ensheathed in a common sheath of connective tissue.’
      covering, cover, case, casing, envelope, sleeve, wrapper
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A protective covering around an electric cable.
      • ‘The HF signal also jumps gaskets between pipe sections, bad telephone cable bonds, and small breaks in a cable's sheath.’
      • ‘The linear symmetry of the gold-colored cable sheaths was especially important.’
      • ‘This inside-outside electrode consists of a metal sheath surrounding a core of fluxing and alloying compounds.’
      • ‘In oil wells, the fiber is wrapped in a metal sheath, which deforms under pressure or temperature changes and squeezes the gratings.’
      • ‘Films of silica act like the plastic sheath on copper cable, since silica is insulating.’
      • ‘It was also said that there were nicks on the sheath of the live cable at the ‘spur’, where the chair had been connected into the mains electricity supply.’
      • ‘The system includes a deflection device and a sheath and optionally uses a guidewire.’
      • ‘Installation is a breeze, and they even provide you with enough in the way of sheaths to keep your cables tidy if you need to.’
      • ‘Now, I am aware of the tricks like zip ties, sheaths, cramming cables into hidden areas, but if you swap out hardware as much as I do, this is an annoying thing to do.’
      • ‘The standard phone wire found in a residence is four untwisted, unshielded wires in a plastic sheath.’
    3. 1.3 A woman's close-fitting dress.
      • ‘Loren was beaming, looking flawless once again in a coppery sheath dress, with her silver blond hair spiraling down past her shoulders in waves.’
      • ‘As usual, she looked stunning in a sleeveless red sheath dress, her honey blonde hair held in place by a rose very similar to the one I was holding.’
      • ‘The mutual friend brought a younger boy with long brown hair with a bright orange cummerbund and a green coat, which further clashed with her black and hot pink sheath dress.’
      • ‘Sudanese model Alek Wek drew a wave of applause in a sweeping pink lame opera coat with fur collar, thrown over a silver sheath dress with giant embroidered palm leaves.’
      • ‘Alexander McQueen has produced a grey tailored sheath dress with three-quarter sleeves and a bow detail under the bust.’
      • ‘And, over the years, the sleek sheath dress became something of a red-carpet signature for her.’
      • ‘Then, there's that generation who never wore anything more formal than a black sheath dress with a knit cardigan.’
      • ‘Her prom dress, a black sheath, sparkled in her bedroom.’
      • ‘A simple sheath dress or suit with gorgeous shoes and accessories can also save you from maxing out a credit card for a one night only outfit and be appropriate too.’
      • ‘Long brown hair straight to her shoulders, black go-go boots and a sheath dress all in lavender clung to her too slim body.’
      • ‘Draped around her was a black silk sheath dress with deep red sleeves.’
      • ‘Seeing myself as a part of the room, I sewed a tight sheath dress from electric turquoise fabric that had a hairy-fringed surface, and presented Sidney with a bow tie I had made from silver vinyl.’
      • ‘His fingers gently undid the zipper of the plum colored silk sheath dress she wore and then slowly slid it off her shoulders, letting it fall effortlessly to the floor.’
      • ‘In her twenties, she had styled red hair and was wearing a sheath dress, a single strand of pearls and a broad brimmed hat.’
      • ‘The cute fuzzy add-on summons up old movie star allure to the most simple sheath dress and looks equally cute tossed over a tunic top and jeans.’
      • ‘She looked fabulous from afar in an orange sheath dress with a sexy and intricate back cut-out.’
      • ‘While she has the hair, the face and the body to carry off a fitted purple silk sheath dress, I unfortunately look like a rugby prop forward in drag.’
      • ‘Pink swirled over the white sheath dress, which billowed into a taffeta 1950's ingenue's gown.’
      • ‘The skinny adolescent is dressed to kill in a black sheath dress, gloves and a straw pillbox hat with a veil.’
      • ‘The indispensable piece remains the sheath dress, interpreted à la nymphet mode by Alessandro dell'Acqua, and dramatically by Lawrence Steele, who created a luminous second skin of metallicized grey with lunar spangles.’
    4. 1.4British A condom.
      • ‘Condoms have been around since 1350BC, according to Durex, when ancient Egyptian tribesmen used sheaths as protection against infection, injury and insect bites.’
      • ‘In earlier times there had been advances in rubber sheaths but they were seen more as a protection against syphilis as opposed to a form of birth control.’
      • ‘This bill aims to take away the criminalised aspect of that, and it de-penalises the aspect of having evidence of safe sex on the premises - that is, condoms, sheaths, diaphragms, and lubricants.’
      • ‘The condom, or male sheath, was quite a late development.’
      • ‘Protective and decorative penis sheaths were common among primitive societies.’


Old English scǣth, scēath ‘scabbard’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schede, German Scheide, also to the verb shed.