Definition of sword in English:



  • 1A weapon with a long metal blade and a hilt with a hand guard, used for thrusting or striking and now typically worn as part of ceremonial dress.

    • ‘This weapon is derived from the cavalry sword, designed for slashing and thrusting.’
    • ‘It is said that he went for his sword, which would have been entirely characteristic.’
    • ‘Jumping back from the dagger she swung her sword at the opening that she saw.’
    • ‘His own sword had a three foot pure silver blade with a metal handle of the exact same length.’
    • ‘Another hand is then seen cutting his throat with a large blade, perhaps a sword.’
    • ‘Putting the bucket on the floor she unlocked the door to the cell, keeping one hand on the hilt of her sword as she did so.’
    • ‘He thought of the day that he chose his weapons, the two swords he held now in his sweaty hands.’
    • ‘She noticed that some of them were a little jumpy with their hands on the hilt of their swords.’
    • ‘The Knights had never needed any kind of weapon beyond their swords and spears and bows.’
    • ‘His hand wandered mindlessly to the hilt of the sword that was strapped to his waist.’
    • ‘Officers were armed with sword and revolver, other ranks with bayonet and pistol.’
    • ‘She placed a hand on her sword hilt and calmly waited for Rae to make the first move.’
    • ‘She grasped the hilt of her sword and thrust it at the stones, wedged it between the planks on the door.’
    • ‘The man's arm froze midair and his sword fell to the floor in a clatter of metal on stone.’
    • ‘The words stung him and he put his hand to his belt to where the hilt of his sword was as if to assure himself that he was as much as a man as any.’
    • ‘The light played off the steel blades of swords, daggers and the occasional axe.’
    • ‘His clawed hand never strayed from the hilt of a long sword at his left hip.’
    • ‘He raised his sword and thrust it at the man's head but the guard craned his neck to one side.’
    • ‘Other lethal weapons such as swords, bayonets, crossbows and knives have also been surrendered.’
    • ‘It was a beautiful sword, long, simple and elegant with an ivory hilt and a golden tassel.’
    blade, steel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the swordliterary Military power, violence, or destruction:
      ‘not many perished by the sword’
      • ‘The historical sources are clear that the relationship was hostile and that negotiation was by the sword.’
      • ‘In South America, the earliest Aztecs had converted people by the sword.’
      • ‘And even though he would have liked an honorable death by the sword … I do not think that he ever wished for this to happen the way it did.’
    2. 1.2swords One of the suits in a tarot pack.
      • ‘The four Latin suits are swords, batons, cups and coins.’
      • ‘The suits are cups, coins, swords and batons, and each suit contains seven different cards.’
      • ‘In the North East of Lombardy the Italian suits: swords, batons, cups and coins are used.’


Old English sw(e)ord, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwaard and German Schwert.