noun, plural sheaths [sheeth z] /ʃiðz/.

verb (used with object)

Origin of sheath

before 950; Middle English s(c)heth(e), Old English scēath; cognate with German Scheide; see shed2
Related formssheath·less, adjectivesheath·like, sheath·y, adjective
Can be confusedsheath sheathe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sheath

Contemporary Examples of sheath

Historical Examples of sheath

  • What make you, Alleyne, of these black lines which are drawn across the sheath?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • And drawing his knife from its sheath, he flung it down at my feet.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • Sheath your swords, comrades; after all, it is no affair of ours.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • He drew his short sword from its sheath, and scratched a deep mark in the gravel.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • He tried to draw it, failed, and looking all along the sheath, saw its condition.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for sheath


noun plural sheaths (ʃiːðz)

a case or covering for the blade of a knife, sword, etc
any similar close-fitting case
biology an enclosing or protective structure, such as a leaf base encasing the stem of a plant
the protective covering on an electric cable
a figure-hugging dress with a narrow tapering skirt
another name for condom


(tr) another word for sheathe

Word Origin for sheath

Old English scēath; related to Old Norse skeithir, Old High German sceida a dividing; compare Old English scādan to divide
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

Word Origin and History for sheath

Old English sceað, scæð, from Proto-Germanic *skaithiz (cf. Old Saxon scethia, Old Norse skeiðir (plural), Old Frisian skethe, Middle Dutch schede, Dutch schede, Old High German skaida, German scheide "a sheath, scabbard"), according to OED, possibly from root *skei- "divide, split" (see shed (v.)) on notion of a split stick with the sword blade inserted. Meaning "condom" is recorded from 1861; sense of "close-fitting dress or skirt" is attested from 1904.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sheath in Medicine



n. pl. sheaths (shēðz, shēths)

An enveloping tubular structure, such as the tissue that encloses a muscle or nerve fiber.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sheath in Science



An enveloping tubular structure, such as the base of a grass leaf that surrounds the stem or the tissue that encloses a muscle or nerve fiber.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.