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- probably from Old English *scēaþian; or
- possibly from Middle English sheth, shethe (“holder for a sword, knife, etc., scabbard, sheath”) [and other forms] + -en (suffix forming the infinitive of verbs). Sheth(e) is derived from Old English sċēaþ (“sheath”), 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).
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: shēth, IPA(key): /ʃiːð/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ʃið/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -iːð
- (transitive) To put (something such as a knife or sword) into a sheath.
- Antonym: unsheathe
- 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iii], page 125, column 1:
- Sheath your Dagger: / Be angry when you will, it ſhall haue ſcope: [...]
- 1607, [Barnabe Barnes], The Divils Charter: A Tragædie Conteining the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the Sixt. […], London: Printed by G[eorge] E[ld] for Iohn Wright, […], OCLC 1043018437, Act III, scene ii:
- 1838, Martin Farquhar Tupper, “Of Searching for Pride”, in Proverbial Philosophy: A Book of Thoughts and Arguments, Originally Treated, London: Joseph Rickerby, […], OCLC 36892655, page 69:
- Be aware of the smiling enemy, that openly sheatheth his weapon, / But mingleth poison in secret with the sacred salt of hospitality.
- 1865, Richard F[rancis] Burton, compiler, “Proverbs in the Ga or Accra Language”, in Wit and Wisdom from West Africa; or A Book of Proverbial Philosophy, Idioms, Enigmas, and Laconisms, London: Tinsley Brothers, […], OCLC 156107375, number 190, page 169:
- Ke okakla foo le, obon oke-woo. If thy knife cut thee thou sheathest it. N.B.—Meaning thou dost not cast it away.
- (transitive) To encase (something) with a protective covering.
- Antonym: unsheathe
- 1765, Edward Young, “A Vindication of Providence: Or, A True Measure of Human Life. In which the Passions are Considered in a New Light.”, in The Works in Prose, of the Reverend Edward Young, LL.D. […], London: Printed for P. Brown, H. Hill, and S. Payne, OCLC 1065028041, page 239:
- A chearful heart does good like a medicine, but envy corrodes like a poiſon; it is ſo ſharp, that it cuts the body which ſheathes it.
- 1843, Ibn Khallikan, quoting Najm ad-din Mûsa al-Kamrâwi, “Abu ’l-Hasan al-Husri”, in [William] Mac Gukin de Slane, transl., Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary: Translated from the Arabic (Oriental Translation Fund; no. 59), volume I, Paris: Printed for the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland; sold by Benjamin Duprat, […] and Allen and Co, […], OCLC 570257159, page 243:
- When thou sheathest thy glances in thy eyelids, they inflict deadly wounds: what must they be when thou drawest them from their scabbards!
- (transitive) Of an animal: to draw back or retract (a body part) into the body, such as claws into a paw.
- Antonym: unsheathe
- 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 460679539, 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, [...]
- 1750, [Noël-Antoine Pluche], “Birds. Dialogue XI.”, in Samuel Humphreys, transl., Spectacle de la Nature: Or, Nature Display’d. Being Discourses on Such Particulars of Natural History, as were Thought Most Proper to Excite the Curiosity, and Form the Minds of Youth. […] Translated from the Original French, 7th revised and corrected edition, London: Printed for R. Francklin, […], OCLC 960914618, page 183:
- We are told, that Dews and the Juices of Flowers are their [hummingbirds'] Food, which they extract with their little Tongue, whoſe Length exceeds that of their Bill, and ſerves them inſtead of a Trunk, which they contract and ſheathe in their Bill.
- (transitive, dated or literary, poetic, figurative) To thrust (a sharp object like a sword, a claw, or a tusk) into something.
- 1593, [William Shakespeare], Venvs and Adonis, London: Imprinted by Richard Field, […], OCLC 837166078, verse 186; Shakespeare’s Venvs & Adonis: […], 4th edition, London: J[oseph] M[alaby] Dent and Co. […], 1896, OCLC 19803734, lines 1115–1116, page 65:
- And nuzzling in his flank, the loving swine / Sheathed unaware the tusk in his soft groin.
- c. 1591–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Third Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [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: [...]
- 1708, Erasmus Roterodamus, “[A Sermon of Conforming and Reforming, Made to the Convocation at St. Paul’s Church in London, by John Colet, D.D. Dean of the Said Church, in the Year 1511.] The Life of Dr. Colet.”, in [John Dunton], editor, The Second Volume of The Phenix: Or, A Revival of Scarce and Valuable Pieces No Where to be Found but in the Closets of the Curious. […], volume II, number Phenix XVII, London: Printed for J[ohn] Morphew […], OCLC 42944820, § 29, page 25:
- [T]hey who either thro Hatred, or Ambition, or Covetouſneſs, do fight with evil Men, and ſo kill one another, fight not under the Banner of Chriſt, but the Devil; ſhewing [...] how difficult for ſuch to be in Charity (without which no Man ſhall ſee God) who ſheathe their Swords in their Brethens Bowels.
- (transitive, obsolete or rare, figurative) To abandon or cease (animosity, etc.)
- (transitive, obsolete) To provide (a sword, etc.) with a sheath.
- c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i], page 221, column 2:
- Nathaniels coate ſir was not fully made, / And Gabrels pumpes were all vnpinkt i'th heele: / There was no Linke to colour Peters hat, / And Walters dagger was not come from ſheathing: [...]
- (transitive, medicine, obsolete) To relieve the harsh or painful effect of (a drug, a poison, etc.).
- 1716, John Radcliffe, “[An Appendix to Dr. Radcliffe’s Recipe’s.] Ramose, Flexile, Smooth Medicines. [Observations.]”, in Pharmacopoeia Radcliffeana: Or, Dr. Radcliff’s Prescriptions, Faithfully Gather’d from His Original Recipes. […], 2nd corrected edition, London: Printed for Charles Rivington, […], OCLC 519060203, pages 540 and 541:
- [page 540] Theſe ſmooth and oily Med'cines act by ſheathing acrimonious Salts in the Blood, and preventing Inconveniences from 'em; and by relaxing the Fibres, and hence widening 'em. [...] [page 541] [They] are convenient in Coughs, from thin and ſharp Rheums, becauſe they ſheathe the Salts that gall the Lungs.
- 1738 December, C. Mortimer, “VI. An Abstract by C. Mortimer, M.D. Secr[etary of the] R[oyal] S[ociety] of an Inaugural Dissertation Published at Wittemberg 1736. by Dr. Abraham Vater, F.R.S. Concerning the Cure of the Bite of a Viper, Cured by Sallad-oil.”, in Philosophical Transactions. Giving Some Account of the Present Undertakings, Studies, and Labours, of the Ingenious, in Many Considerable Parts of the World, volume XXXIX, number 451, London: Printed for T. Woodward, […] ; and C. Davis […] ; printers to the Royal Society, OCLC 630046584, page 443:
- He concludes this Diſſertation, by endeavouring to explain the Manner of its [olive oil's] operating, which he attributes to its fat inviſcating Nature, whereby it ſheathes the Spicula of the Poiſon.
- 1747, Tho[mas] Short, Medicina Britannica: Or A Treatise on Such Physical Plants, as are Generally to be Found in the Fields and Gardens in Great-Britain: Containing a Particular Account of Their Nature, Virtues, and Uses. […], 2nd edition, London: Printed for R. Manby and H. Shute Cox, […], OCLC 14304749, paragraph 73, page 66:
- Comfry Root (Symphytum) is a principal Vulnerary; it is very mucilaginous and thickening, its clammy Juice ſheathes the Sharpneſs of the Humours; [...]
Conjugation of sheathe
|present tense||past tense|
|2nd-person singular||sheathe, sheathest*||sheathed, sheathedst*|
|3rd-person singular||sheathes, sheatheth*||sheathed|
|* Archaic or obsolete.|
to put (something) into a sheath
to encase (something) with a protective covering
to thrust (a sharp object) into something
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
- “shēthen, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “shēth(e, n.(1)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007; compare “sheathe, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1914; “sheathe, v.” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.
- ^ “-en, suf.(3)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “shēth(e, n.(1)” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007; “sheath, n.1”, in OED Online , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1914; “sheath, n.” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.