[shee-th ing]


the act of a person who sheathes.
something that sheathes; a covering or outer layer of metal, wood, or other material, as one of metal plates on a ship's bottom, the first covering of boards on a house, etc.
material for forming any such covering.

Origin of sheathing

First recorded in 1490–1500; sheathe + -ing1
Related formsun·der·sheath·ing, noun



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

a case or covering for the blade of a sword, dagger, or the like.
any similar close-fitting covering or case.
a condom.
Biology. a closely enveloping part or structure, as in an animal or plant.
Botany. the leaf base when it forms a vertical coating surrounding the stem.
a close-fitting dress, skirt, or coat, especially an unbelted dress with a straight drape.
Electricity. the metal covering of a cable.
  1. the metal wall of a wave guide.
  2. a space charge formed by ions near an electrode in a tube containing low-pressure gas.
  3. the region of a space charge in a cathode-ray tube.

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



verb (used with object), sheathed, sheath·ing.

to put (a sword, dagger, etc.) into a sheath.
to plunge (a sword, dagger, etc.) in something as if in a sheath.
to enclose in or as if in a casing or covering.
to cover or provide with a protective layer or sheathing: to sheathe a roof with copper.
to cover (a cable, electrical connector, etc.) with a metal sheath for grounding.

Origin of sheathe

1350–1400; Middle English shethen, derivative of sheath
Related formssheath·er, noun
Can be confusedsheath sheathe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sheathing

encase, wrap, cover, enclose, surround

Examples from the Web for sheathing

Historical Examples of sheathing

  • "So ends our quarrel, then," said Aylward, sheathing his sword.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • "Yes, yes," the Cuban answered, sheathing the knife and thrusting it into his belt.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • Pieces from the ship's sheathing were often rubbed off in her contact with the ice.

  • In this the leaves are long and pointed, but also sheathing at the base.

  • He drove his chisel through the sheathing as close to the cabin floor as he could.

British Dictionary definitions for sheathing



any material used as an outer layer, as on a ship's hull
boarding, etc, used to cover the wall studding or roof joists of a timber frame


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


verb (tr)

to insert (a knife, sword, etc) into a sheath
(esp of cats) to retract (the claws)
to surface with or encase in a sheath or sheathing
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 sheathing



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.



c.1400, "to furnish (a sword, etc.) with a sheath," from sheath; meaning "to put (a sword, etc.) in a sheath" is attested from early 15c. Related: Sheathed; sheathing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sheathing 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.

sheathing 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.