Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[sawrd, sohrd] /sɔrd, soʊrd/
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.
this weapon as the symbol of military power, punitive justice, authority, etc.:
The pen is mightier than the sword.
a cause of death or destruction.
war, combat, slaughter, or violence, especially military force or aggression:
to perish by the sword.
(initial capital letter) Military. the code name for one of the five D-Day invasion beaches on France's Normandy coast, assaulted by British forces.
at swords' points, mutually antagonistic or hostile; opposed:
Father and son are constantly at swords' point.
cross swords,
  1. to engage in combat; fight.
  2. to disagree violently; argue:
    The board members crossed swords in the selection of a president.
put to the sword, to slay; execute:
The entire population of the town was put to the sword.
Origin of sword
before 900; Middle English; Old English sweord; cognate with Dutch zwaard, German Schwert, Old Norse sverth
Related forms
swordless, adjective
swordlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cross swords
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You refuse to cross swords with me on the pretext that you do not fight men of my stamp.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • Do you mean that you would seek to cross swords with the Vicomte?

    The Trampling of the Lilies Rafael Sabatini
  • And now farewell; may it be my lot to cross swords with one of you before all is done.

    Queen Sheba's Ring H. Rider Haggard
  • He had refused to cross swords with her, and had lowered his own in salute.

  • Was this chit of a girl going to attempt to cross swords with her?

    A Bachelor Husband Ruby M. Ayres
  • Or if you will do me the honour to cross swords, my sword is ready.

  • I will cross swords with any man that she appoints as her deputy.

    To Tell You the Truth Leonard Merrick
  • He found time to cross swords with somebody else, and got the worst of the encounter.

    Lola Montez Edmund B. d'Auvergne
  • He challenged Monsieur, and Monsieur declined to cross swords with a thief.

    Helmet of Navarre Bertha Runkle
British Dictionary definitions for cross swords


a thrusting, striking, or cutting weapon with a long blade having one or two cutting edges, a hilt, and usually a crosspiece or guard
such a weapon worn on ceremonial occasions as a symbol of authority
something resembling a sword, such as the snout of a swordfish
cross swords, to argue or fight
the sword
  1. violence or power, esp military power
  2. death; destruction: to put to the sword
Derived Forms
swordless, adjective
swordlike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English sweord; related to Old Saxon swerd, Old Norse sverth, Old High German swert
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cross swords



Old English sweord, from Proto-Germanic *swerdan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian swerd, Old Norse sverð, Swedish svärd, Middle Dutch swaert, Dutch zwaard, Old High German swert, German Schwert), related to Old High German sweran "to hurt," from *swertha-, literally "the cutting weapon," from PIE root *swer- (3) "to cut, pierce." Contrast with plowshare is from the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah ii:4, Micah iv:3). Phrase put (originally do) to the sword "kill, slaughter" is recorded from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with cross swords

cross swords

Fight, either verbally or physically. For example, At every policy meeting the two vice-presidents crossed swords . This phrase alludes to the ancient form of combat using swords. Also see at sword's point


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for cross swords

Word Value for cross

Scrabble Words With Friends