1. An offensive weapon, having a long and usually sharppointed 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." (Dryden)

3. Destruction by the sword, or in battle; war; dissension. "I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Matt. X. 34)

4. The military power of a country. "He hath no more authority over the sword than over the law." (Milton)

5. 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. A dance in which swords are brandished and clashed together by the male dancers. 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.

A European shrimp (Pasiphaea sivado) having a very thin, compressed body. Sword stick, a sword cane. To measure swords with one. See Measure, To put to the sword. See Put.

Origin: OE. Swerd, AS. Sweord; akin to OFries. Swerd, swird, D. Zwaard, OS. Swerd, OHG. Swert, G. Schwert, Icel. Sver, Sw. Svard, Dan. Svaerd; of uncertain origin.

(01 Mar 1998)