the grassy surface of land; turf.
a stretch of turf; a growth of grass.

verb (used with object)

to cover with sward or turf.

verb (used without object)

to become covered with sward.

Origin of sward

before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English sweard skin, rind; cognate with German Schwarte rind, Old Frisian swarde scalp, Middle Dutch swaerde skin
Related formsun·der·sward, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sward

Historical Examples of sward

  • The priest had seen it, for he had the child pickaback and was running across the sward.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • His deemsters and barons are about him, and his people are on the sward below.

  • The green of the sward had that pale look it puts on with the last rays, or with the dawning.

    In Kings' Byways

    Stanley J. Weyman

  • Quickly the earth was shovelled in, and soon two mounds showed on the sward.

  • It is but a strip of sward, but it is as wild as if in the midst of a forest.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for sward



turf or grass or a stretch of turf or grass


to cover or become covered with grass

Word Origin for sward

Old English sweard skin; related to Old Frisian swarde scalp, Middle High German swart hide
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 sward

"grass-covered ground," Old English sweard "skin, rind" (of bacon, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *swarthu- (cf. Old Frisian swarde "skin of the head," Middle Dutch swarde "rind of bacon," German Schwarte "thick, hard skin, rind," Old Norse svörðr "walrus hide"). Meaning "sod, turf" developed c.1300, on notion of the "skin" of the earth (cf. Old Norse grassvörðr, Danish grønsvær "greensward").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper