sword


sword
swordless, adj.swordlike, adj.
/sawrd, sohrd/, n.
1. 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.
2. this weapon as the symbol of military power, punitive justice, authority, etc.: The pen is mightier than the sword.
3. a cause of death or destruction.
4. war, combat, slaughter, or violence, esp. military force or aggression: to perish by the sword.
5. (cap.) Mil. the code name for one of the five D-Day invasion beaches on France's Normandy coast, assaulted by British forces.
6. at swords' points, mutually antagonistic or hostile; opposed: Father and son are constantly at swords' point.
7. cross swords,
a. to engage in combat; fight.
b. to disagree violently; argue: The board members crossed swords in the selection of a president.
8. put to the sword, to slay; execute: The entire population of the town was put to the sword.
[bef. 900; ME; OE sweord; c. D zwaard, G Schwert, ON sverth]

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Hand weapon consisting of a long metal blade fitted with a handle or hilt.

Roman swords had a short, flat blade and a hilt distinct from the blade. Medieval European swords were heavy and equipped with a large hilt and a protective guard, or pommel. The blade was straight, double-edged, and pointed. The introduction of firearms did not eliminate the sword but led to new designs; the discarding of body armour required the swordsman to be able to parry, and the rapier, a double-edged sword with a narrow, pointed blade, came into use. Swords with curved blades were used in India and Persia and were introduced into Europe by the Turks, whose scimitar, with its curved, single-edged blade, was modified in the West to the cavalry sabre. Japanese swords are renowned for their hardness and extreme sharpness; they were the weapon of the samurai. Repeating firearms ended the value of the sword as a military weapon, though its continued use in duels led to the modern sport of fencing. See also kendo.

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weapon
 preeminent hand weapon through a long period of history, consisting of a metal blade varying in length, breadth, and configuration, but longer than a dagger (q.v.), and fitted with a handle or hilt usually equipped with a guard. The sword became differentiated from the dagger during the Bronze Age (c. 3000 BC), when copper and bronze weapons were produced with long, leaf-shaped blades and with hilts consisting of an extension of the blade in handle form. By Roman times the hilt was distinct from the short, flat blade, and by the European Middle Ages the weapon had acquired its main basic forms. The heavy sword of medieval chivalry had a large hilt, often designed to be gripped in both hands, with a large protective guard or pommel at the top. The blade was straight, double-edged, and pointed; it was fabricated by repeated firing and hammering, a process that converted the iron into mild steel by the addition of a small amount of carbon. Blades were also made of laminated strips of iron, which were hammered together. Damascus was a renowned centre of the craft.

      The changes in warfare associated with the introduction of firearms did not eliminate the sword but rather proliferated its types. The discarding of body armour made it necessary for the swordsman to be able to parry with his weapon, and the thrust-and-parry rapier came into use.

      The advantage of a curved blade for cutting was early appreciated in Asia, where it was long used by the Indians, Persians, and others before its introduction to Europe by the Turks. The Turkish scimitar was modified in the West to the cavalry sabre. At the other extreme of Asia, the Japanese developed a long-bladed, slightly curved version with a two-handed grip, with which an elaborate dueling cult, as well as ancestor worship, became associated.

      The introduction of repeating firearms virtually ended the value of the sword as a military weapon, though isolated instances of its use continued in 20th-century wars. As it declined in its military usefulness, the sword gained a new role in the duel, especially in Europe, out of which practice emerged the modern sport of fencing.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sword — ► NOUN 1) a weapon with a long metal blade and a hilt with a handguard, used for thrusting or striking. 2) (the sword) literary military power; violence. ● beat (or turn) swords into ploughshares Cf. ↑turn swords into ploughshares ● he who liv …   English terms dictionary

  • sword — [so:d US so:rd] n [: Old English; Origin: sweord] 1.) a weapon with a long pointed blade and a handle 2.) a/the sword of Damocles literary a bad thing that might happen at any time ▪ The treaty hung like a sword of Damocles over French politics.… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • SWORD — est un jeu de rôle. Vous êtes dans la peau d un personnage et vous montez de niveau, il y a des combats, et c est à travers un monde imaginaire ou virtuel et fictif. Ce n est bien sur pas du 3D mais le remplissage est très bon sans compter les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sword — [ sɔrd ] noun count ** a weapon with a short handle and a long sharp blade cross swords (with someone) to disagree or argue with someone about something: Once again, they are crossing swords over the issue of welfare reform. a double edged/two… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sword — [sôrd] n. [ME < OE sweord, akin to Ger schwert, prob. < IE base * swer , to cut, pierce] 1. a hand weapon having a long, sharp pointed blade, usually with a sharp edge on one or both sides, set in a hilt; broadsword, rapier, saber, scimitar …   English World dictionary

  • sword — O.E. sweord, from P.Gmc. *swerdan (Cf. O.S., O.Fris. swerd, O.N. sverð, Swed. svärd, M.Du. swaert, Du. zwaard, O.H.G. swert, Ger. Schwert), related to O.H.G. sweran to hurt, from *swertha , lit. the cutting weapon, from PIE root …   Etymology dictionary

  • sword|ed — «SR dihd, SOHR », adjective. armed with a sword …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sword — For other uses, see Sword (disambiguation) and Swords (disambiguation). Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century A sword is a bladed weapon (edged weapon) used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the… …   Wikipedia

  • sword — n. 1 a weapon usu. of metal with a long blade and hilt with a handguard, used esp. for thrusting or striking, and often worn as part of ceremonial dress. 2 (prec. by the) a war. b military power. Phrases and idioms: put to the sword kill, esp. in …   Useful english dictionary


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