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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a knife/sword fight
▪ There have been several arrests, following knife fights between drunken fans.
a two-edged sword (=something that has as many bad results as good ones)
▪ Strong leadership is a two-edged sword.
sword dance
▪ There were of course occasions when Franz's great sword was laid aside, other instruments being required for the administration of justice.
▪ The stars flashed and sparkled as once they had flashed and sparkled on the hilt of the great sword.
▪ The once great Cavan cross swords with Monaghan at Castleblayney, bidding to end a frustrating losing championship sequence.
▪ Warriors fought with bows and arrows for long range and swords and spears for close combat.
▪ It was eight feet and two inches long and the sword measured two feet and five inches.
▪ He carried a bronze-bladed spear and a heavy Saxon long sword, which he had won in forest combat some years before.
▪ The fact that these were generally long swords tends to confirm the use of cavalry.
▪ Now and again a shadow would slip out but, seeing Cranston's long sword, retreat again.
▪ The Sergeant's long sword shone silver.
▪ Their shields were embossed with gold or silver; their long, curved swords were in richly decorated scabbards.
▪ Their long swords were drawn and their horses' teeth bared.
▪ The flattened rectangular section behind the neck contains traces of a large iron blade, possibly a double-edged dagger or short sword.
▪ Alexei unsheathed the short sword and tested the weight.
▪ Burun was using his short sword to cut thick slices from the meat on the platter in front of him.
▪ A short wooden sword was clutched in one grimy hand and the boy's shirt had been well and truly ripped.
▪ His eyes met Rosten's, bright with gratitude, then looked down at the short sword.
▪ Jehan fumbled for the short sword which he kept tucked between the straps behind his saddle.
▪ A short wooden sword was clutched in one grimy hand and the boy's shirt had been well and truly ripped.
▪ A small boy gave her his wooden sword and she brandished it the way he had shown her.
▪ It could be worn with the sword belt on the outside; and the either the forage or the field headgear.
▪ He purchased a ceremonial naval uniform, complete with sword belt, sword, and Colt. 45 pistol.
▪ He unbuckled his sword belt, then unlaced his jerkin and began to slip it over his head.
▪ He tossed his sword belt to Yuan and walked out into the companionway.
▪ Pattern for the side vents of the 1895 coat, which unbuttoned to allow use of the sword belt.
▪ He had left his sword belt and dagger in the tavern.
▪ Not dressed in travel-stained wool and dusty chainmail with his sword hilt gleaming harshly in the sunshine.
▪ He held his sword hilt up.
▪ Riven rubbed his sword hilt with a white thumb, thinking for a second of Madra pressing against him.
▪ All Outriders are armed with a sword.
▪ They are armed with a sword and lance.
▪ He is armed with a huge sword.
▪ James had armed himself with the sword of Robert the Bruce, but it stood him in poor stead.
▪ A trooper armed with a sword and a pistol has +1 extra attack.
▪ Two sentries armed with sword and halberd stood on guard.
▪ The soldiers were armed with bows, swords, armour and long spears.
▪ They were armed with dirks, swords and daggers and wore large travelling cloaks.
▪ Readers were told to beat their ploughshares into swords.
▪ They unsheathed together and brought their swords forward two-handed into guard.
▪ Then, with a sharp hiss of breath, he brought the sword down sharply.
▪ Rosten brought the sword down sharply.
▪ WEAPONS/ARMOUR: The Supreme Patriarch carries a sword but wears no armour as this would compromise his magic.
▪ They carried swords that had been blunted to avoid accidental cuts.
▪ Then I realized that he was wounded, and could not run; and that he carried a sword in his hand.
▪ WEAPONS/ARMOUR: Magnus wears a suit of heavy armour with shield and carries a sword.
▪ Both men were armed, each carrying a naked sword and dirk.
▪ Tilly and Gustavus had crossed swords several times, generally to Tilly's disadvantage.
▪ The angels who guard the door to the garden are lowering their crossed swords.
▪ The fight in Birkenhead was not the first time that Mr Field had crossed swords with the Labour left.
▪ Harrison, a man of simple birth and high intelligence, crossed swords with the leading lights of his day.
▪ The two men, the former a steadfast Tory, the latter a dedicated Whig, had crossed swords on several occasions.
▪ None the less it is perhaps surprising that the librarian has not crossed swords with the law over obscene and indecent literature before now.
▪ Sharpe slowed to a walk and drew his sword.
▪ He drew his sword, his only weapon now, and rushed upon his enemy.
▪ He drew his sword and, with a smooth overarm throw, completely failed to hit the troll.
▪ Menelaus drew his sword, his only weapon now, but as he did so it fell from his hand broken.
▪ The barbarian had vaulted down into the heather and had drawn the black sword, Kring.
▪ While the others set forth food for him, Boreas' sons took their stand beside him with drawn swords.
▪ I drew my own sword, shouting defiance and encouragement to the rest.
▪ He drew his sword and plunged it into his side.
▪ And the generals who had grown too popular had been commanded to perform one last service by falling upon their swords.
▪ Teleki, aristocrat as he was, felt obliged to fall on his sword.
▪ But by Tuesday it was clear that they wanted her to fall on her sword.
▪ Sharpe was holding his own sword low beside his stirrup, almost as if he could not be bothered to fight.
▪ He held his sword hilt up.
▪ Sharpe simply parried the blow by holding his own heavy sword vertically.
▪ The soldier walked ahead of me, holding his sword in his left hand so that it didn't clatter against the stairs.
▪ There was another officer with him holding a sword upright.
▪ The other man was still holding the sword upright as he went down.
▪ The threat had hung like a sword over his head for years and he wanted to confront it once and for all.
▪ He hung up his sword and went on a retreat to Manresa, where he authored Spiritual Exercises in 1522.
▪ The older men put up their swords and unbuckled their belts, preparing for action.
▪ Chun had put his sword back into the scabbard and turned to a political solution.
▪ Other public institutions were put to the sword elsewhere.
▪ But that lot is shaky indeed in an Arab society put to fire and sword by foreign forces.
▪ He put five really thick swords down his mouth, then he nailed two six-inch nails up his nose.
▪ Westphalia was finally put to fire and sword by the avenging Franks, and the Westphalians were defeated.
▪ The High Elf army fell on the besiegers of Lothern, putting them to the sword.
▪ Two men appeared in front of him, and he caught her wrist and jerked her to one side, raising his sword.
▪ Stationing himself approximately in the centre of his front, he raised his sword high and ordered the charge.
▪ He could resist no longer, barely managing to drag himself to his knees as Fedorov raised the sword.
▪ He raised his sword two-handed so that the hilt was level with his face, then he sheathed the blade and bowed.
▪ Melwas gave a shout, and swung his sword up for the kill.
▪ The thief paused, then growled and swung his sword back.
▪ I took a sword and ran out into the sun.
▪ In the midst of thunder and lightening, Alfredo begs his father to take a sword and kill him.
▪ The Highland dancers bad left, taking their swords for other employment.
▪ Luib took the practice sword from him with a nod, and he joined them at the edge of the field.
▪ Dauntless took down his sword from its saddle sheath.
▪ When Alexei had taken Mubarak's sword, he nodded to Yuan.
▪ He was wielding a samurai sword.
▪ Recently a Nomura executive suffered the indignity of being taken hostage by a client wielding a samurai sword.
a double-edged sword/weapon
▪ But the potential financial boost is a double-edged sword.
▪ It's been said before that being well-known is a double-edged sword.
▪ That can be a double-edged sword, commercially and artistically.
▪ The competition rules must be regarded as a double-edged sword by businesses.
▪ This, however, rapidly proved a double-edged weapon.
▪ Throughout our history, judicial review has been a double-edged sword.
cross swords (with sb)
▪ Japan and the U.S. have crossed swords on a number of trade issues.
▪ Harrison, a man of simple birth and high intelligence, crossed swords with the leading lights of his day.
▪ None the less it is perhaps surprising that the librarian has not crossed swords with the law over obscene and indecent literature before now.
▪ On March 20 and October 9, Saturn and Pluto cross swords for the first time in two decades.
▪ The angels who guard the door to the garden are lowering their crossed swords.
▪ The fight in Birkenhead was not the first time that Mr Field had crossed swords with the Labour left.
▪ The two men, the former a steadfast Tory, the latter a dedicated Whig, had crossed swords on several occasions.
▪ Tilly and Gustavus had crossed swords several times, generally to Tilly's disadvantage.
fall on your sword
naked light/flame/sword etc
▪ A very powerful naked light bulb hung from the office ceiling.
▪ Both men were armed, each carrying a naked sword and dirk.
▪ He is like a naked light.
▪ Obviously this is untrue - it is not the naked light that Blanche can not stand, it is the truth.
▪ She likes to cover up the truth like she covers over the naked light.
▪ She turned, all flaxen and pink and white, haloed by the naked light bulbs round the mirror.
▪ This gives a double meaning to Blanche's hatred of naked light.
the flat of sb's hand/a knife/a sword etc
turn/beat swords into ploughshares
▪ As soon as a key was inserted it rang a loud alarm bell and palace guards would rush in with drawn swords.
▪ Kruger's sword shook slightly as the dart struck his arm.
▪ Ramsay's lance snapped off, broken, and left his right arm and hand too numb to draw his sword.
▪ Sauron's army is so overcome with fear that no swords are drawn and they run away.
▪ Setting one foot upon Asterion, he gripped the sword, twisted it, and pulled the blade free of the wound.
▪ The sword was later recovered from a long forgotten underground lair by a combined expedition of Dwarfs and Men.
▪ Their swords rang together, and Riven knew he was the weaker man.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Sword \Sword\ (s[=o]rd), n. [OE. swerd, AS. sweord; akin to OFries. swerd, swird, D. zwaard, OS. swerd, OHG. swert, G. schwert, Icel. sver[eth], Sw. sv["a]rd, Dan. sv[ae]rd; of uncertain origin.]

  1. An offensive weapon, having a long and usually sharp-pointed blade with a cutting edge or edges. It is the general term, including the small sword, rapier, saber, scimiter, and many other varieties.

  2. Hence, the emblem of judicial vengeance or punishment, or of authority and power.

    He [the ruler] beareth not the sword in vain.
    --Rom. xiii. 4.

    She quits the balance, and resigns the sword.

  3. Destruction by the sword, or in battle; war; dissension.

    I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    --Matt. x. 3

  4. 4. The military power of a country.

    He hath no more authority over the sword than over the law.

  5. (Weaving) One of the end bars by which the lay of a hand loom is suspended. Sword arm, the right arm. Sword bayonet, a bayonet shaped somewhat like a sword, and which can be used as a sword. Sword bearer, one who carries his master's sword; an officer in London who carries a sword before the lord mayor when he goes abroad. Sword belt, a belt by which a sword is suspended, and borne at the side. Sword blade, the blade, or cutting part, of a sword. Sword cane, a cane which conceals the blade of a sword or dagger, as in a sheath. Sword dance.

    1. A dance in which swords are brandished and clashed together by the male dancers.
      --Sir W. Scott.

    2. A dance performed over swords laid on the ground, but without touching them.

      Sword fight, fencing; a combat or trial of skill with swords; swordplay.

      Sword grass. (Bot.) See Gladen.

      Sword knot, a ribbon tied to the hilt of a sword.

      Sword law, government by the sword, or by force; violence.

      Sword lily. (Bot.) See Gladiolus.

      Sword mat (Naut.), a mat closely woven of yarns; -- so called from a wooden implement used in its manufacture.

      Sword shrimp (Zo["o]l.), a European shrimp ( Pasiph[ae]a sivado) having a very thin, compressed body.

      Sword stick, a sword cane.

      To measure swords with one. See under Measure, v. t.

      To put to the sword. See under Put.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English sweord, swyrd (West Saxon), sword (Northumbrian) "sword," from Proto-Germanic *swerdam (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian swerd, Old Norse sverð, Swedish svärd, Middle Dutch swaert, Dutch zwaard, Old High German swert, German Schwert "a sword"), related to Old High German sweran "to hurt," from *swertha-, literally "the cutting weapon," from PIE root *swer- (3) "to cut, pierce."\n

\nContrast with plowshare is from the Old Testament (Isaiah ii:4, Micah iv:3). Phrase put (originally do) to the sword "kill, slaughter" is recorded from mid-14c. An older Germanic word for it is in Old Saxon heoru, Gothic hairus "a sword."


n. 1 (context weaponry English) A long-bladed weapon having a handle and sometimes a hilt and designed to stab, hew, or slice. 2 Someone paid to handle a sword. 3 (context tarot English) A suit in the minor arcana in tarot. 4 (context tarot English) A card of this suit. 5 (context weaving English) One of the end bars by which the lay of a hand loom is suspended.


n. a cutting or thrusting weapon with a long blade [syn: blade, brand, steel]


A sword is a bladed weapon intended for both slashing and thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration. A sword in the most narrow sense consists of a straight blade with two edges and a hilt, but depending on context, the term is also often used to refer to bladed weapons with a single edge (also referred to as a backsword).

Historically, the sword developed in the Bronze Age, evolving from the dagger; the earliest specimens date to about 1600 BC. The later Iron Age sword remained fairly short and without a crossguard. The spatha, as it developed in the Late Roman army, became the predecessor of the European sword of the Middle Ages, at first adopted as the Migration period sword, and only in the High Middle Ages, developed into the classical arming sword with crossguard. The word sword continues the Old English, sweord.

The use of a sword is known as swordsmanship or (in an early modern or modern context) as fencing. In the Early Modern period, western sword design diverged into roughly two forms, the thrusting swords and the sabers.

The thrusting swords such as the rapier and eventually the smallsword were designed to impale their targets quickly and inflict deep stab wounds. Their long and straight yet light and well balanced design made them highly maneuverable and deadly in a duel but fairly ineffective when used in a slashing or chopping motion. A well aimed lunge and thrust could end a fight in seconds with just the sword's point, leading to the development of a fighting style which closely resembles modern fencing.

The saber and similar blades such as the cutlass were built more heavily and were more typically used in warfare. Built for slashing and chopping at multiple enemies, oftentimes from atop a horse, the saber's long curved blade and slightly forward weight balance gave it a deadly character all its own on the battlefield. Most sabers also had sharp points and double edged blades, making them capable of piercing soldier after soldier in a cavalry charge. Sabers continued to see battlefield use until the late 19th century. The US Navy kept tens of thousands of sturdy cutlasses in their armory well into World War II and many were issued to marines in the Pacific as jungle machetes.

Non-European weapons called "sword" include single-edged weapons such as the Middle Eastern scimitar, the Chinese dao and the related Japanese katana. The Chinese jian is an example of a non-European double-edged sword, like the European models derived from the double-edged Iron Age sword.

Sword (disambiguation)

A sword is a cutting and/or thrusting weapon.

Sword, Swords, or The Sword may also refer to:

Sword (band)

Sword is a Canadian heavy metal band that was active in the 1980s and just announced a reunion for 2011.

Sword (comics)

Sword, in comics, may refer to:

  • The Sword (comics), an Image Comics series from the Luna Brothers
  • S.W.O.R.D. (comics), a Marvel Comics organisation that deals with alien threats
  • Sword (Wildstorm), a Wildstorm character who first appeared in the Fire From Heaven crossover, he is an alternate universe version of Union
  • Sword, the alter ego of Chic Carter, a Golden Age superhero who appeared in Smash Comics and Police Comics
  • Sword (Ace Comics), a Golden Age character from Ace Comics
  • Sword of Sorcery, a title featuring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
SWORD (protocol)

SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) is an interoperability standard that allows digital repositories to accept the deposit of content from multiple sources in different formats (such as XML documents) via a standardized protocol. In the same way that the HTTP protocol allows any web browser to talk to any web server, so SWORD allows clients to talk to repository servers. SWORD is a profile (specialism) of the Atom Publishing Protocol, but restricts itself solely to the scope of depositing resources into scholarly systems.

Usage examples of "sword".

I will now go and skin that troll who went so nigh to slay thee, and break up the carcase, if thou wilt promise to abide about the door of the house, and have thy sword and the spear ready to hand, and to don thine helm and hauberk to boot.

Then the courage came into his body, and with a great might he abraid upon his feet, and smote the black and yellow knight upon the helm by an overstroke so fierce that the sword sheared away the third part of his head, as it had been a rotten cheese.

From their bases first at Turin, and then at Coblenz, they were accused of planning invasions of France on the heels of absolutist armies that would put good patriots and their women and children to the sword and raze their cities.

His sword trailed in his paralyzed hand as he glared, open-mouthed, stunned by the realization which was too abysmal and awful for the mind to grasp.

Sword has exempted the transaction from taxes in order to accelerate the buy-out.

Now the brothers would tear Achar apart in their hatred for each other, tear it apart until finally they stood sword to sword in the Chamber of the Moons.

Treating Raven like the dangerous predator he was, Adeem very carefully held the sword out to him.

The fierce Adelantado, finding himself surrounded by six assailants, who seemed to be directing their whole effort against his life, swung his sword in a berserk rage and slashed about him, to such good purpose that four or five of his assailants soon lay round him killed or wounded.

Terrible as were the losses of the Huguenots by fire and sword, considerable as were the defections from their ranks of those who found in the reformed Catholic church a spiritual refuge, still greater was the loss of the Protestant cause in failing to secure the adherence of such minds as Dolet and Rabelais, Ronsard and Montaigne, and of the thousands influenced by them.

Army of the United States, not for a moment looking for advancement there, not counting the cost, not offering his sword to the service of power, nor yet laying it down at the feet of the Government--he unsheathed it and took his stand in defence of the great principles asserted by Virginia in the Revolution, when she contended with Great Britain the right of every people to choose their own form of government.

The aeronaut carried a gun firing explosive bullets loaded with oxygen, and in addition, and true to the best tradition of Japan, a sword.

Thenceforward they may fight as it pleases them, ahorse, or afoot, with lance, with sword, or with dagger, but to the vanquished no mercy will be shown.

The French cavalrymen, more used to the sword than the carbine, were aiming high, but that common fault was small consolation amidst their bullets.

Now a sleet of bullets hissed through their ranks as they retired, and the gallant Lord Airlie, as modest and brave a soldier as ever drew sword, was struck through the heart.

Lilliputian ropes restraining a sleek, mechanical Gulliver, Ake hit the forward thrusters and the ship shot backwards out of the slot that had held it like a sword being pulled from a scabbard.