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[sheeth] /ʃiθ/
noun, plural sheaths
[sheeth z] /ʃiðz/ (Show IPA)
a case or covering for the blade of a sword, dagger, or the like.
any similar close-fitting covering or case.
a condom.
Biology. a closely enveloping part or structure, as in an animal or plant.
Botany. the leaf base when it forms a vertical coating surrounding the stem.
a close-fitting dress, skirt, or coat, especially an unbelted dress with a straight drape.
Electricity. the metal covering of a cable.
  1. the metal wall of a wave guide.
  2. a space charge formed by ions near an electrode in a tube containing low-pressure gas.
  3. the region of a space charge in a cathode-ray tube.
verb (used with object)
to sheathe.
Origin of sheath
before 950; Middle English s(c)heth(e), Old English scēath; cognate with German Scheide; see shed2
Related forms
sheathless, adjective
sheathlike, sheathy, adjective
Can be confused
sheath, sheathe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sheath
  • Included carrying case is basically a thin, flimsy sheath not suitable for transporting anything of value.
  • To charge up the light, you wiggle the weatherproof sealed plastic case out of its soft silicone sheath.
  • MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells.
  • Decorative tiles and marble sheath the counters and some walls.
  • The sheath takes its place alongside the company's other offerings, including a textured condom and one that glows in the dark.
  • Something which makes my sheath retract and my talons ooze.
  • They then tried to haul it aboard, unintentionally separating the tentacled head from the rubbery tail sheath.
  • The product is a patterned sheath you put over your regular hose.
  • The barb is covered with a sheath of toxin that is injected into a wound.
  • Some magnets begin to turn dark under the skin, suggesting the bio-neutral silicone sheath is failing.
British Dictionary definitions for sheath


noun (pl) sheaths (ʃiːðz)
a case or covering for the blade of a knife, sword, etc
any similar close-fitting case
(biology) an enclosing or protective structure, such as a leaf base encasing the stem of a plant
the protective covering on an electric cable
a figure-hugging dress with a narrow tapering skirt
another name for condom
(transitive) another word for sheathe
Word Origin
Old English scēath; related to Old Norse skeithir, Old High German sceida a dividing; compare Old English scādan to divide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sheath

Old English sceað, scæð, from Proto-Germanic *skaithiz (cf. Old Saxon scethia, Old Norse skeiðir (plural), Old Frisian skethe, Middle Dutch schede, Dutch schede, Old High German skaida, German scheide "a sheath, scabbard"), according to OED, possibly from root *skei- "divide, split" (see shed (v.)) on notion of a split stick with the sword blade inserted. Meaning "condom" is recorded from 1861; sense of "close-fitting dress or skirt" is attested from 1904.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sheath in Medicine

sheath (shēth)
n. pl. sheaths (shēðz, shēths)
An enveloping tubular structure, such as the tissue that encloses a muscle or nerve fiber.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sheath in Science
An enveloping tubular structure, such as the base of a grass leaf that surrounds the stem or the tissue that encloses a muscle or nerve fiber.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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