put to the sword: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘put to the sword’ mean?

The idiom "put to the sword" means to kill or execute someone with a sword, often after a battle or as a form of punishment.

Idiom Explorer


The idiom "put a gun to someone's head" is closely related to the expression "put to the sword." While "put to the sword" refers to the act of killing or executing someone with a sword, "put a gun to someone's head" describes a situation where someone is threatened with immediate harm or death using a gun.

In both cases, these idioms convey a sense of extreme violence and danger. They emphasize the severity and ruthlessness of the actions being described. Whether it's being put to the sword or having a gun to one's head, these idioms highlight the grave consequences and potential loss of life involved.

Another related idiom is "put to bed," which has a completely different meaning. "Put to bed" is often used in a metaphorical sense to describe the completion or finalization of a project, task, or issue. It implies that something has been successfully finished or resolved.

In contrast, "put to the sword" and "put a gun to someone's head" are much more intense and violent in nature. They depict situations where lives are at stake and where the outcome can be fatal.

Put the sword in the categorized storage.

There is also the phrase "put it to," which has multiple meanings depending on the context. One possible interpretation is to present an idea or proposal for consideration. In this sense, it can be seen as putting something forward to be scrutinized or evaluated. It can also be used to suggest confronting and dealing with a difficult or challenging situation head-on.

"Put to the sword" can be seen as another way to confront a problem or threat directly, but with more violent and destructive consequences. It implies a complete and forceful action taken against someone or something in order to eliminate or overcome it.

Finally, there is the idiom "put to the test," which refers to subjecting someone or something to a trial or evaluation in order to assess its capabilities, effectiveness, or reliability. This expression implies a need to prove oneself or something else under certain conditions or expectations.

While "put to the sword" does not specifically involve a test or evaluation, it does emphasize the act of testing someone's or something's endurance or resilience. Being put to the sword is a brutal and unforgiving test, one that often results in the complete destruction or defeat of the individual or group being tested.

Overall, the idiom "put to the sword" is closely related to other expressions that involve extreme violence, threat, resolution, and evaluation. These idioms each convey a specific and vivid image or concept, highlighting the severity and impact of the actions or situations being described.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "put to the sword" can be used in a sentence are:

  1. After receiving news of the rebellion, the king ordered his soldiers to put the rebels to the sword.
  2. In the dark ages, prisoners of war were often put to the sword by their captors.
  3. The invading army showed no mercy and put everyone they found in the village to the sword.

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