sword

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be put to the sword

To be slain or executed, especially in or as a consequence of war. Scores of villagers were put to the sword by the merciless invaders, and those who survived were left with a ravaged, empty township.
See also: put, sword

put (someone) to the sword

To slay or execute someone, especially in or as a consequence of war. These prisoners will be shown no mercy: we shall put them to the sword before sunrise.
See also: put, sword

sword-and-sandal

Of film, to features the exploits and adventures of ancient and biblical figures, as was prominent in Italy in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sword-and-sandal films dominated cinemas for a period after the second World War, but they were quashed halfway through the sixties by the Spaghetti Western.

those who live by the sword, die by the sword

1. Those who choose a path of violence against others should expect to have violence and harm visited upon themselves. (Often shortened to "live by the sword, die by the sword.") The young men of this city getting caught up in gang violence have the shortest lifespans of anyone in the state. True enough, those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
2. If you rely upon a certain means of doing something, especially that which is illegal, illicit, or harmful to others, you are likely to have a negative outcome as a result thereof. (Often shortened to "live by the sword, die by the sword.") For years, the senator took bribes and skimmed profits from kickbacks all over his state, until finally the FBI launched a sting against him that ended up putting him away for life. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
See also: die, live, sword, those, who

double edged sword

Something that can be both positive and negative. Intelligence is a double edged sword. Things may come easy to you, but people will always expect more. This meeting is a double-edged sword—it's a great chance to get the firm wider exposure, but we're just not prepared enough for it.
See also: double, edge, sword

double-edged sword

Something that can be both beneficial and problematic. Going back to school was a double-edged sword for Pam. On the one hand, it would widen her career prospects, but, on the other hand, she would be in a lot of debt when she graduated.
See also: sword

measure swords

1. To engage in a sword duel against another person. I was a very skilled swordsman in my youth—I measured swords many times and lived to tell the tale.
2. To fight someone or something. Can you two stop measuring swords against each other? I'm sick of having to break up fights between you! I don't think you'll win if you try to measure swords with the big pharmaceutical company.
3. To get a sense of one's abilities in a particular area. After measuring swords with him this morning, I'm confident that I can beat him in the race—I know he's not as fast as I am!
See also: measure, sword

hang up

1. verb To disconnect a phone call. The term is often used to mean to end the call in the middle of the conversation, but it can also mean to disconnect the call when it is finished. Don't you dare hang up on me, I'm not done issuing my complaint! I can't hear you anymore, it must be a bad signal. I'm going to hang up now, so call me back if you can hear this.
2. noun (usually hyphenated) A disconnected phone call. The phone's been ringing all day, but it's just been a bunch of hang-ups. I think someone's pranking us.
3. noun (usually hyphenated) An impediment of some kind, usually an emotional or psychological insecurity, that prevents a person from making progress in a situation. Jeff's personal hang-up is that he always felt like his parents supported his brother more than they supported him.
See also: hang, up

cross swords (with someone)

Fig. to become the adversary of someone. Gloria loved an argument and was looking forward to crossing swords with Sally.
See also: cross, sword

fall on one's sword

 
1. Lit. to fall down and be penetrated by one's own sword, accidentally or on purpose. He tripped and fell on his sword.
2. Fig. to accept defeat; to go to extremes to indicate one's defeat. (From the ancient practice of a military commander committing suicide this way rather than being captured.) So, because I lost the contract, I am supposed to fall on my sword or something?
See also: fall, on, sword

hang something up

to return the telephone receiver to its cradle. (See also hang it up.) Please hang this up when I pick up the other phone. Please hang up the phone.
See also: hang, up

hang up

 .
1. [for a machine or a computer] to grind to a halt; to stop because of some internal complication. Our computer hung up right in the middle of printing the report. I was afraid that my computer would hang up permanently.
2. to replace the telephone receiver after a call; to terminate a telephone call. I said good-bye and hung up. Please hang up and place your call again.
See also: hang, up

hang up

 (on someone or something)
1. and hang up (in someone's ear) to end a telephone call by returning the receiver to the cradle while the other party is still talking. She hung up on me! I had to hang up on all that rude talk.
2. to give up on someone or something; to quit dealing with someone or something. Finally, I had to hang up on Jeff. I can't depend on him for anything. We hung up on them because we knew we couldn't make a deal.
See also: hang, up

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Prov. If you use violence against other people, you can expect to have violence used against you.; You can expect to become a victim of whatever means you use to get what you want. (Biblical.) The gang leader who organized so many murders was eventually murdered himself. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Bill liked to spread damaging gossip about other people, until he lost all his friends because of some gossip that was spread about him. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
See also: die, live, sword

pen is mightier than the sword

Prov. Eloquent writing persuades people better than military force. Believing that the pen is mightier than the sword, the rebels began publishing an underground newspaper. Alan: Why do you want to become a journalist? Bill: The pen is mightier than the sword.
See also: mighty, pen, sword

two-edged sword

 and double-edged sword
Fig. something that offers both a good and bad consequence. The ability to get your insurance to pay for it is a double-edged sword. They may raise your rates. Her authority in the company is a two-edged sword. She makes more enemies than allies.
See also: sword

hang up

to end a telephone connection I can't think of his name, but it'll come to me as soon as we hang up.
See also: hang, up

cross swords (with somebody)

(slightly formal)
to argue with someone The candidates crossed swords on several issues, including taxes, guns and immigration.
See also: cross, sword

cross swords with somebody

to argue with someone We don't always agree, in fact I've crossed swords with her several times at committee meetings.
See also: cross, sword

a double-edged sword

something that causes both advantages and problems His great intelligence was a real double-edged sword because he never felt he could communicate with ordinary people.
See also: sword

The pen is mightier than the sword.

  (formal)
something that you say which means thinking and writing have more influence on people and events than the use of force or violence Reason is our greatest weapon against such tyrants. The pen is mightier than the sword.
See also: mighty, pen, sword

a sword of Damocles hangs over somebody's head

  (literary) also a sword of Damocles hangs over somebody (literary)
if a sword of Damocles hangs over someone, they are in a situation where something bad is likely to happen to them very soon
Usage notes: This phrase comes from a story about Damocles who had to eat his food with a sword hanging over him which was tied up by a single hair.
You live with this sword of Damocles hanging over your head, knowing that you carry the virus for a deadly disease.
See also: Damocles, hang, head, of, sword

beat/turn swords into ploughshares

  (formal)
to stop preparing for war and to start using the money you previously spent on weapons to improve people's lives It would have been unrealistic to expect a country like the United States to turn swords into ploughshares the moment the Cold War ended.
See cross swords with
See also: beat, sword

at sword's point

Also, at swords' points. Antagonistic, hostile, as in Father and son were at swords' points. Dating from the days when swords were used to settle quarrels, the idiom today generally signifies only a bitter quarrel.
See also: point

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.
See also: cross, sword

hang up

1. Suspend on a hook or hanger, as in Let me hang up your coat for you. [c. 1300]
2. Also, hang up on. Replace a telephone receiver in its cradle; end a phone conversation. For example, She hung up the phone, or He hung up on her. [Early 1900s]
3. Delay or hinder; also, become halted or snagged, as in Budget problems hung up the project for months, or Traffic was hung up for miles. [Second half of 1800s]
4. Have or cause to have emotional difficulties, as in Being robbed at gunpoint can hang one up for years to come. [Slang; early 1900s]
5. hung up on. Obsessed with, as in For years the FBI was hung up on Communist spies. [First half of 1900s]
6. hang up one's sword or gloves or fiddle . Quit, retire, as in He's hanging up his sword next year and moving to Florida. The noun in these expressions refers to the profession one is leaving- sword for the military, gloves for boxing, and fiddle for music-but they all are used quite loosely as well, as in the example.
7. hang up one's hat. Settle somewhere, reside, as in "Eight hundred a year, and as nice a house as any gentleman could wish to hang up his hat in" (Anthony Trollope, The Warden, 1855).
See also: hang, up

sword of Damocles

Also, Damocles' sword. Impending disaster, as in The likelihood of lay-offs has been a sword of Damocles over the department for months. This expression alludes to the legend of Damocles, a servile courtier to King Dionysius I of Syracuse. The king, weary of Damocles' obsequious flattery, invited him to a banquet and seated him under a sword hung by a single hair, so as to point out to him the precariousness of his position. The idiom was first recorded in 1747. The same story gave rise to the expression hang by a thread.
See also: Damocles, of, sword

hang up

v.
1. To suspend something on a hook or hanger: Please hang your jacket up in the closet. I hung up my bathrobe on the hook.
2. To replace a telephone receiver on its base or cradle: I hung up the phone and returned to my chores. Will you hang that phone up and get back to your homework?
3. To end a telephone conversation: I said goodbye to my mother and hung up.
4. To delay or impede something; hinder something: Budget problems hung up the project for months. Squabbling hung the contract talks up for weeks.
5. To become snagged or hindered: The fishing line hung up on a rock.
6. To stop doing or participating in some activity: They are planning to hang up their law practice after 40 years. Trying to find your keys in the snow is a lost cause—you might as well hang it up.
7. Slang To have emotional difficulties or inhibitions. Used passively: If you weren't so hung up about your job, you'd be more fun to be around.
8. Slang To be obsessed or consumed with something. Used passively: I'm still hung up on that sale I missed last week.
See also: hang, up

hang up

1. n. a problem or concern; an obsession. (Usually hang-up.) She’s got some serious hang-ups about cats.
2. in. to say no; to cancel out of something. If you don’t want to do it, just hang up. I’ll understand.
See also: hang, up

sword swallowing

n. fellatio. The headmaster caught him in an act of sword swallowing.
See also: swallow, sword

cross swords

To quarrel or fight.
See also: cross, sword

at swords' points

Ready for a fight.
See also: point

put to the sword

To kill; slay.
See also: put, sword

fall on one's sword

To resign in a way to accept responsibility for a mistake. In the era when warriors carried swords and shields, a soldier who was guilty of cowardice or another serious breach of military procedure was expected to do the “honorable thing” by taking his own life. He needed no assistance: he placed his sword's hilt on the ground and, resting the sharpened tip against his bare midsection, fell forward. Although the accepted mode of remorse was a pistol bullet to the brain in the age of firearms, the phrase remained. It is now used metaphorically: a political figure or business executive whose resignation is an expression of regret for a badly made decision will be said to have fallen on his (or her) sword.
See also: fall, on, sword

sword of Damocles

An imminent and/or constant threat. According to Greek legend, Damocles, a friend of King Dionysius of Syracuse, envied the ruler's great wealth and power. When Damocles told the king how fortunate he was, Dionysius offered to change places for a day. As Damocles dined at the head of the table, he happened to look up. There above his head, held by only a single horsehair, hung a sharp sword pointing downward toward his chair. Frozen with fear that the thread would break, he pointed out the predicament to the king. Dionysius nodded, acknowledging that the sword was a constant factor in his life, an actual and a metaphoric reminder that some person or circumstance might at any time cut the thread. Such risk, the king added, comes as an integral part of power. Any ever-present risk, especially one that's hanging by a thread, is how the phrase has been used.
See also: Damocles, of, sword
References in classic literature ?
They were bareheaded; their eyes were protected by iron goggles which projected an inch or more, the leather straps of which bound their ears flat against their heads were wound around and around with thick wrappings which a sword could not cut through; from chin to ankle they were padded thoroughly against injury; their arms were bandaged and rebandaged, layer upon layer, until they looked like solid black logs.
The other started at the unexpected greeting, and laid his hand upon his sword.
Raoul was on the ground as soon as he, both sword in hand.
A dagger snatched from the harness of her mistress was waved aloft by some fair slave, its shimmering blade crimson with the lifeblood of its owner; swords plucked from the bodies of the dead about them; heavy ornaments which could be turned into bludgeons--such were the implements with which these fair women wreaked the long-pent vengeance which at best could but partially recompense them for the unspeakable cruelties and indignities which their black masters had heaped upon them.
The other sword was of about the same length as the hooked instrument, and somewhere between that of my long-sword and my short-sword.
Prythee give me my sword and let me away, for I am in haste.
Few red men are good shots, for the sword is their chosen weapon; so now as the Dusarian drew bead upon the rising flier, and touched the button upon his rifle's stock, it was more to chance than proficiency that he owed the partial success of his aim.
FROM now on the old man devoted himself to the training of the boy in the handling of his lance and battle-axe, but each day also a period was allotted to the sword, until, by the time the youth had turned sixteen, even the old man himself was as but a novice by comparison with the marvelous skill of his pupil.
So close were they to each other that Alleyne had no time to spring back from the next cut, which beat down his sword and grazed his forehead, sending the blood streaming into his eyes and down his cheeks.
said Alan; and as I turned back to my place, I saw him pass his sword through the mate's body.
The noise of the combat was terrific; each of the three combatants swearing like troopers, and their swords clashing with as much noise as if all the knives and steels in Newport market were rattling together, at the same time.
He drank one drop, but still he could not lift the sword; then he drank a second, and the sword began to move; but only after he had drunk a third drop was he able to swing the sword over his head.
For all that, he was much grieved at the loss of his lance, and saying so to his squire, he added, "I remember having read how a Spanish knight, Diego Perez de Vargas by name, having broken his sword in battle, tore from an oak a ponderous bough or branch, and with it did such things that day, and pounded so many Moors, that he got the surname of Machuca, and he and his descendants from that day forth were called Vargas y Machuca.
D'Artagnan the elder girded his own sword round his son, kissed him tenderly on both cheeks, and gave him his benediction.
In the first place he himself furbished a sword, which he drew from its perfumed leather sheath; he examined it to see if its hilt was well guarded and if the blade was firmly attached to the hilt.