From Middle English sheth, shethe (“holder for a sword, knife, etc., scabbard, sheath”) [and other forms], from Old English sċēaþ (“sheath”), from Proto-West Germanic *skaiþiju, from Proto-Germanic *skaiþiz (“sheath; covering”), from Proto-Indo-European *skey- (“to dissect, split”) (possibly from the notion of a split stick with a sword inserted).
The English word is cognate with Danish skede, Dutch schede, Icelandic skeið, German Scheide, Low German scheed, Norwegian skjede.
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: shēth, IPA(key): /ʃiːθ/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ʃiθ/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -iːθ
sheath (plural sheaths)
- A holster for a sword; a scabbard.
- (by extension) Anything that has a similar shape to a scabbard that is used to hold an object that is longer than it is wide.
- (botany) The base of a leaf when sheathing or investing a branch or stem, as in grasses.
- (electrical engineering) The insulating outer cover of an electrical cable.
- (entomology) One of the elytra of an insect.
- (fashion) A tight-fitting dress.
- (zoology) The foreskin of certain animals (for example, dogs and horses).
- (Britain, informal) A condom.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:condom
scabbard — see scabbard
insulating outer cover of an electrical cable
condom — see condom
foreskin of certain animals
A variant of sheathe.
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: shēth, IPA(key): /ʃiːð/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ʃið/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -iːð
sheath (third-person singular simple present sheaths, present participle sheathing, simple past and past participle sheathed)
- Alternative spelling of sheathe
- Antonym: unsheath
- c. 1591–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene v], page 171, column 1:
- Nay, neuer beare me hence, diſpatch me heere: / Here ſheath thy Sword, Ile pardon thee my death: [...]
- 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iii], page 125, column 1:
- Sheath your Dagger: / Be angry when you will, it ſhall haue ſcope: [...]
- 1687, [John Dryden], “The Third Part”, in The Hind and the Panther. A Poem, in Three Parts, 2nd edition, London: Printed for Jacob Tonson […], →OCLC, page 88:
- So when the gen'rous Lyon has in ſight / His equal match, he rouſes for the fight; / But when his foe lyes proſtrate on the plain, / He ſheaths his paws, uncurls his angry mane; / And, plea'd with bloudleſs honours of the day, / Walks over, and diſdains th' inglorious Prey, [...]
- , [John] Gay, “Book III. Of Walking the Streets by Night.”, in Trivia: Or, The Art of Walking the Streets of London, London: Printed for Bernard Lintott, […], →OCLC, page 53:
- At Sight of thee, the Villain ſheaths his Sword, / Nor ſcales the Wall, to ſteal the wealthy Hoard.
- 1972, Ian Anderson (lyrics), “Thick As A Brick”, performed by Jethro Tull:
- And the poet lifts his pen
While the soldier sheaths his sword.
- ^ “shēth(e, n.(1)”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007; “sheath, n.1”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1914; “sheath, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
- sheath on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- sheath in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- sheath in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913