Definition of sword noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//sɔːd//
; NAmE NAmE//sɔːrd//
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  • a weapon with a long metal blade and a handle to draw/sheathe a sword (= to take it out of/put it into its cover) More Like This Silent letters gnarled, gnash, gnat, gnaw, gnome haute cuisine, heir, (NAmE herb), honour, hors d’oeuvre, hour knack, knee, kneel, knife, knight, knit, knob, knock, knot, know, knuckle psalm, psephology, psychic, ptarmigan, pterodactyl, psychology wrangle, wrap, wreath, wreck, wrench, wrestle, wriggle, wring, write, wrong bomb, climb, crumb, doubt, lamb, limb ascent, fascinate, muscle, scene, scissors height, right, sleigh, weight align, campaign, design, foreign, malign, reign, unfeigned balmy, calm, calf, half, yolk autumn, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn bristle, fasten, listen, mortgage, soften, thistle, wrestle biscuit, build, circuit, disguise, guilty, league, rogue, vague yacht answer, sword, twoSee worksheet. See related entries: Weapons
  • Word OriginOld English sw(e)ord, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwaard and German Schwert.Extra examples All the men were put to the sword. I thrust my sword into his chest. The Governor crossed swords with Democrats over US policy. The potential financial boost is a double-edged sword. the sword of justiceIdioms
    be a double-edged sword/weapon
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    to be something that has both advantages and disadvantages
    cross swords (with somebody)
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    to fight or argue with somebody
    the pen is mightier than the sword
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    (saying) people who write books, poems, etc. have a greater effect on history and human affairs than soldiers and wars
    put somebody to the sword
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    (old-fashioned or literary) to kill somebody with a sword See related entries: Weapons
    a/the sword of Damocles
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    (literary) a bad or unpleasant thing that might happen to you at any time and that makes you feel worried or frightened From the legend in which Damocles had to sit at a meal at the court of Dionysius with a sword hanging by a single hair above his head. He had praised Dionysius’ happiness, and Dionysius wanted him to understand how quickly happiness can be lost.
    turn swords into ploughshares
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    (literary) to stop fighting and return to peaceful activities See related entries: Weapons
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sword