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[sawrd, sohrd] /sɔrd, soʊrd/
a weapon having various forms but consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved blade, sharp-edged on one or both sides, with one end pointed and the other fixed in a hilt or handle.
this weapon as the symbol of military power, punitive justice, authority, etc.:
The pen is mightier than the sword.
a cause of death or destruction.
war, combat, slaughter, or violence, especially military force or aggression:
to perish by the sword.
(initial capital letter) Military. the code name for one of the five D-Day invasion beaches on France's Normandy coast, assaulted by British forces.
at swords' points, mutually antagonistic or hostile; opposed:
Father and son are constantly at swords' point.
cross swords,
  1. to engage in combat; fight.
  2. to disagree violently; argue:
    The board members crossed swords in the selection of a president.
put to the sword, to slay; execute:
The entire population of the town was put to the sword.
before 900; Middle English; Old English sweord; cognate with Dutch zwaard, German Schwert, Old Norse sverth
Related forms
swordless, adjective
swordlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sword
  • But employing celebrities can be a double-edged sword.
  • Remember, however, that leverage is a two-edged sword.
  • In the past many samurai had worked as farmers, putting on the armor and sword only when needed.
  • The chemical complexity of natural products is a two-edged sword.
  • For college presidents, personal charm is a double-edged sword that must be wielded deftly.
  • The endless sword duels, a big part of all pirate movies, probably happened on occasion.
  • But the economics of these plants is a double-edged sword.
  • They have long, thin, curving horns that resemble a scimitar sword.
  • From the hyper-realistic deaths by sword to the pristine marble worlds of the heavens above, it's gorgeous.
  • Having a well-known scholar as your adviser can be a double-edged sword.
British Dictionary definitions for sword


a thrusting, striking, or cutting weapon with a long blade having one or two cutting edges, a hilt, and usually a crosspiece or guard
such a weapon worn on ceremonial occasions as a symbol of authority
something resembling a sword, such as the snout of a swordfish
cross swords, to argue or fight
the sword
  1. violence or power, esp military power
  2. death; destruction: to put to the sword
Derived Forms
swordless, adjective
swordlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sweord; related to Old Saxon swerd, Old Norse sverth, Old High German swert
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 sword

Old English sweord, from Proto-Germanic *swerdan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian swerd, Old Norse sverð, Swedish svärd, Middle Dutch swaert, Dutch zwaard, Old High German swert, German Schwert), related to Old High German sweran "to hurt," from *swertha-, literally "the cutting weapon," from PIE root *swer- (3) "to cut, pierce." Contrast with plowshare is from the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah ii:4, Micah iv:3). Phrase put (originally do) to the sword "kill, slaughter" is recorded from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sword in the Bible

of the Hebrew was pointed, sometimes two-edged, was worn in a sheath, and suspended from the girdle (Ex. 32:27; 1 Sam. 31:4; 1 Chr. 21:27; Ps. 149:6: Prov. 5:4; Ezek. 16:40; 21:3-5). It is a symbol of divine chastisement (Deut. 32:25; Ps. 7:12; 78:62), and of a slanderous tongue (Ps. 57:4; 64:3; Prov. 12:18). The word of God is likened also to a sword (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17; Rev. 1:16). Gideon's watchword was, "The sword of the Lord" (Judg. 7:20).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with sword


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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