1. A handheld weapon consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved, pointed blade having one or two cutting edges and set into a hilt.
2. An instrument of death or destruction.
a. The use of force, as in war.
b. Military power or jurisdiction.
at swords' points
Ready for a fight.
put to the sword
To kill; slay.
[Middle English, from Old English sweord.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.