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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.


[sheeth] /ʃið/
verb (used with object), sheathed, sheathing.
to put (a sword, dagger, etc.) into a sheath.
to plunge (a sword, dagger, etc.) in something as if in a sheath.
to enclose in or as if in a casing or covering.
to cover or provide with a protective layer or sheathing:
to sheathe a roof with copper.
to cover (a cable, electrical connector, etc.) with a metal sheath for grounding.
1350-1400; Middle English shethen, derivative of sheath
Related forms
sheather, noun
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 sheathed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I saw the Spanish officer start at this, and advance sword in hand to the attack; but Colonel Preston sheathed his.

    Mass' George George Manville Fenn
  • The knife looked terrible; but it was sheathed and tucked into a belt.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • "Thou shouldst first have sheathed it in mine," she whispered.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • Her body was sheathed in a grey dress, and seemed to have been moulded into the material.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Instantly every knife was sheathed, and the gloating expression of the Miamis changed to one of interest and pleasure.

    Oonomoo the Huron Edward S. Ellis
  • "At ease with that jazz," said Lane, and a sheathed finger snapped out.

    Mutineer Robert J. Shea
  • There was blood on his hand, blood clotted about the mouth of his scabbard, for he had sheathed his blade without cleansing it.

    The Hour of the Dragon Robert E. Howard
British Dictionary definitions for sheathed


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


verb (transitive)
to insert (a knife, sword, etc) into a sheath
(esp of cats) to retract (the claws)
to surface with or encase in a sheath or sheathing
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 sheathed



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.



c.1400, "to furnish (a sword, etc.) with a sheath," from sheath; meaning "to put (a sword, etc.) in a sheath" is attested from early 15c. Related: Sheathed; sheathing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sheathed 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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sheathed 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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