Definition of sheath in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʃiːθ/

noun (plural sheaths /ʃiːðz/ /ʃiːθs/)

1A close-fitting cover for the blade of a knife or sword.
Example sentences
  • Drawing the sword free of the sheath she inspected the blade.
  • Shaking his head at the stupidity of his thoughts, he pulled the sword from its sheath and swung the blade experimentally.
  • 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.
scabbard, case
1.1A structure in living tissue which closely envelops another: the fatty sheath around nerve fibres
More example sentences
  • The tumor infiltrated perineural sheaths and peripancreatic fatty tissue.
  • The median nerve and the tendon of palmaris profundus are ensheathed in a common sheath of connective tissue.
  • It is the breakdown of the synovial tissue of tendon sheaths that gives rise to most ganglia.
1.2A protective covering around an electric cable.
Example sentences
  • Films of silica act like the plastic sheath on copper cable, since silica is insulating.
  • 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.
  • The linear symmetry of the gold-colored cable sheaths was especially important.
1.3 (also sheath dress) A woman’s close-fitting dress.
Example sentences
  • Then, there's that generation who never wore anything more formal than a black sheath dress with a knit cardigan.
  • The skinny adolescent is dressed to kill in a black sheath dress, gloves and a straw pillbox hat with a veil.
  • 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.
1.4chiefly British A condom.
Example sentences
  • 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.
North American  prophylactic
British trademark Durex
North American informal rubber, safe, safety, skin
British informal, dated French letter, Frenchy
dated protective



Example sentences
  • Such a floppy, sheathless notochord cannot push effectively on the surrounding embryonic tissues, but rather folds up like a wet noodle as it elongates relative to the surrounding embryo.
  • We developed a new sheathless technique for percutaneous intraaortic balloon catheter insertion which reduces the effective catheter diameter.
  • A variety of tip shapes and conducting coatings were evaluated using an electrospray time-of-flight mass spectrometer run in the sheathless mode.


Old English scǣth, scēath 'scabbard', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schede, German Scheide, also to the verb shed2.

Words that rhyme with sheath

beneath, buck teeth, Hadith, heath, Keith, neath, Reith, teeth, underneath, Westmeath, wreath

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sheath

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