Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday June 12, 2013
1. the grassy surface of land; turf.
2. a stretch of turf; a growth of grass.
1. to cover with sward or turf.
2. to become covered with sward.
One fair half-day in the July of 1800, by good luck, he was employed, partly out of charity, by one of the keepers, to trim the sward in an oval enclosure within St. James' Park...
-- Herman Melville, Israel Potter, 1855
The arching trees gave no cover, so Edward skidded into the woodland behind the tall guardian beeches on the other side of the grove and fell down, promptly into the long grass near to the edge of the sward...
-- Iris Murdoch, The Good Apprentice, 1985
Sward comes from the Proto-Germanic root swarthu- meaning "skin" or "rind." While in Old English sward referred to the skin of an animal, by the 1400s it started referring to the outer layer of the earth where grass grows.