put (someone) to the sword

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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
References in classic literature ?
It was finally decided that the whole nation of Pygmies should set to work to destroy Hercules; not, be it understood, from any doubt that a single champion would be capable of putting him to the sword, but because he was a public enemy, and all were desirous of sharing in the glory of his defeat.
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