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Sword vs. Sabre: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 8, 2024
A sword is a broad category of bladed weapons, while a sabre is a specific type of sword with a curved, single-edged blade, often associated with cavalry.

Key Differences

A sword is a general term for a long-edged weapon used in different cultures and periods. The sabre, a specific type of sword, is recognized by its distinct curved blade, traditionally used by cavalry.
Swords come in various designs, including straight and double-edged, suitable for thrusting and slicing. Sabres typically have a curved, single-edged blade, more effective for slashing, especially from horseback.
Swords have been used across the world for millennia, varying in form and function according to culture and era. Sabres gained prominence with cavalry units in the 17th to 19th centuries, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Swords, in general, hold significant cultural and symbolic value, often seen in ceremonies and as symbols of power. Sabres, with their association with cavalry and certain military traditions, also have their unique cultural significance.
In fencing, the term 'sword' can refer to various weapons like the foil, épée, and sabre. The sport sabre is used for quick slashing motions, whereas other swords in fencing have different rules and techniques.

Comparison Chart

Blade Shape

Varies: straight, double-edged, etc.
Curved, single-edged


Broad use in combat and ceremonies
Historically favored by cavalry

Cultural Significance

Symbolic in various cultures
Strong association with cavalry traditions

Historical Period

Used throughout history
Prominence from 17th to 19th centuries

Fencing Discipline

Includes foil, épée
Sabre fencing involves slashing techniques

Sword and Sabre Definitions


A sword is a long-bladed weapon used for slashing or thrusting.
The knight unsheathed his sword during the duel.


Sabres are known for their slashing capability in mounted combat.
With a swift movement of his sabre, the soldier cut down the enemy's flag.


Swords vary in design, from medieval broadswords to thin rapiers.
The museum displayed an array of swords from different historical periods.


A sabre is a curved, single-edged sword historically used by cavalry.
The cavalryman charged into battle, brandishing his sabre.


In fencing, a sword like the épée is used for thrusting attacks.
She won the match using a swift thrust with her fencing sword.


Sabres often have a richly decorated hilt and are used ceremonially.
The officer's uniform was complemented by a ceremonial sabre at his side.


Swords are traditional weapons and symbols of honor and bravery.
In the ceremony, the officer was presented with a ceremonial sword.


In fencing, the sabre is a lightweight, slashing weapon.
During the fencing tournament, he scored points rapidly with his sabre.


Swords have been essential in many cultures for combat and rituals.
Ancient samurai were renowned for their skill with the sword.


The sabre is associated with certain military traditions and honor.
The display showcased sabres from various historical military regiments.


A handheld weapon consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved, pointed blade having one or two cutting edges and set into a hilt.


Variant of saber.


An instrument of death or destruction.


A light sword, sharp along the front edge, part of the back edge, and at the point.


A modern fencing sword modeled after the sabre.


To strike or kill with a sabre.


See Saber.


A fencing sword with a v-shaped blade and a slightly curved handle


A stout sword with a curved blade and thick back


Cut or injure with a saber


Kill with a saber


What is a sabre?

A sabre is a specific type of sword with a curved, single-edged blade, often associated with cavalry.

Were swords used by all cultures?

Yes, swords have been used in various forms across different cultures and time periods.

What is a sword?

A sword is a long-bladed weapon used historically and ceremonially for slashing or thrusting.

Are sabres still used today?

Sabres are primarily ceremonial today, used in military traditions and fencing.

What makes a sabre unique?

The sabre's unique feature is its curved, single-edged blade, optimized for slashing.

Can both swords and sabres be used for thrusting?

While many swords are designed for thrusting, sabres are primarily for slashing.

Are all sabres curved?

Yes, a defining characteristic of a sabre is its curved blade.

What historical period is the sabre most associated with?

Sabres are most associated with the 17th to 19th centuries, particularly in cavalry units.

How do swords differ in design?

Swords vary greatly in design, including straight, double-edged, and curved forms.

Do sabres have a guard for hand protection?

Yes, sabres typically have a guard, which can be quite elaborate, to protect the hand.

Do swords have different types of hilts?

Yes, sword hilts vary widely, depending on the sword type and cultural origin.

What materials are swords made from?

Historically, swords have been made from various steels and metals.

Do swords play a role in mythology?

Yes, swords feature prominently in many myths and legends across cultures.

What is the cultural significance of swords?

Swords often symbolize honor, bravery, and are used in various cultural and ceremonial contexts.

How are swords and sabres used differently in fencing?

In fencing, swords like the épée are used for thrusting, while the sabre is for slashing.

Is sabre fencing faster than other types?

Sabre fencing is known for its speed and agility, focusing on rapid slashing movements.

What is a ceremonial sabre used for today?

Today, ceremonial sabres are often used in military parades, weddings, and other formal events.

Were swords used in naval combat?

Yes, swords were used in naval combat, with certain types like cutlasses being popular.

Were swords ever dual-wielded?

Dual-wielding swords was practiced in some cultures, though it was not the norm.

Can sabres be double-edged?

Sabres are traditionally single-edged, with the curve making a double edge impractical.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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