Definition of sword in English:

sword

Line breaks: sword
Pronunciation: /sɔːd
 
/

noun

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.
More example sentences
  • She grasped the hilt of her sword and thrust it at the stones, wedged it between the planks on the door.
  • Other lethal weapons such as swords, bayonets, crossbows and knives have also been surrendered.
  • The light played off the steel blades of swords, daggers and the occasional axe.
Synonyms
blade, steel
literary brand
1.1 (the sword) literary Military power, violence, or destruction: not many perished by the sword
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • In South America, the earliest Aztecs had converted people by the sword.
  • The historical sources are clear that the relationship was hostile and that negotiation was by the sword.
1.2 (swords) One of the suits in a tarot pack.
More example sentences
  • In the North East of Lombardy the Italian suits: swords, batons, cups and coins are used.
  • The suits are cups, coins, swords and batons, and each suit contains seven different cards.
  • The four Latin suits are swords, batons, cups and coins.

Origin

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

Phrases

beat (or turn) swords into ploughshares

Devote resources to peaceful rather than warlike ends.
[with biblical allusion to Is. 2:4 and Mic. 4:3]
More example sentences
  • The work of a Cotswold charity that keeps alive the idea of beating swords into ploughshares will be highlighted by Comic Relief on Sunday.
  • As a military member, my association with violence and war appears to compromise my service of the God who would turn swords into plowshares.
  • Spiritless environmentalism may not ultimately be enough - but spirit-based environmentalism needs to act quickly if it is to show that it has the power to turn swords into ploughshares.

fall on one's sword

Assume responsibility or blame on behalf of other people, especially by resigning from a position: he heroically fell on his sword, insisting that it was his decision
More example sentences
  • Yesterday, the Newcastle-based bank's beleaguered chief executive finally fell on his sword, tendering his resignation.
  • Government sources told the Sunday Star-Times that he will be asked to fall on his sword.
  • Given John Elliot's standards of accountability, don't expect too many senior personnel to be falling on their swords.

he who lives by the sword dies by the sword

proverb Those who commit violent acts must expect to suffer violence themselves.
More example sentences
  • Raimondo interrupts the standoff, reminding them of God's law that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
  • As the old adage goes, he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
  • He paused and added, ‘But he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’

put to the sword

Kill, especially in war.
More example sentences
  • Whole villages were put to the sword, livestock was slaughtered, crops destroyed and famine and disease decimated the survivors.
  • There wasn't all that much of the murderous stuff that took place later in the Thirty Years War, when towns were sacked and people who were not involved in the war were all put to the sword.
  • After a brief resistance the town was taken by storm and 20,000 men, women and children were put to the sword or burned to death, including hundreds who had packed the cathedral seeking sanctuary.
Synonyms
kill, execute, put to death, murder, butcher, slaughter, annihilate, massacre, cut down, mow down
literary slay

the sword of justice

Judicial authority.
More example sentences
  • Law professor Paul Laband argued in 1897 that women were too weak ‘to wield the sword of justice.’
  • But the sword of justice should not be used to force me to compensate those with less talent.
  • Justice attempts to settle matters to the highest truth, to separate truth from falsehood (the function of the sword of justice).

Derivatives

sword-like

adjective
More example sentences
  • The sword-like arms glinted in the sun of the morning.
  • The cooked parts of the cone of meat are cut into very thin slices with a huge, sword-like knife and arranged on a plate with pickles and pita bread.
  • Other figures wear carnivalesque masks with sword-like beaks, marking them as birds of prey.

Definition of sword in:

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