What Does The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword Mean?

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword Meaning

Definition: Influencing people through thoughts and ideas are more effective than violence.

Origin of the Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

This expression first appeared in the play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy, from the year 1839.

The Englishman Edward Butler-Lytton was the author. However, earlier variations of this idea appeared in other cultures and languages as early as the seventh century B.C.

Examples of the Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

meaning of the pen is mightier than the swordIn the first example, two employees are discussing a big problem at work.

Marcus: I can’t believe Charlie told everyone that we were the ones who messed up the project!

Patsy: I know. That was awful of him. We should get revenge.

Marcus: You’re right! Let’s wait for him in the parking lot after work and beat him up!

Patsy: Whoa, whoa, whoa! That’s not what I meant at all. I was just going to write an email to the boss explaining what really happened. We have emails from Charlie proving that he was the one who made the mistake. It will be easy to prove.

Marcus: Oh, that’s a much better idea. The pen is mightier than the sword. I always forget that.

the pen is mightier than the sword originIn the second example, a sister and brother are discussing a new volunteering opportunity that the sister is partaking in.

Angela: Do you want to volunteer with me this weekend? I just recently started, and it’s a great program.

Samson: What kind of volunteering is it?

Angela: It’s an education initiative aimed at at-risk youth. The idea behind it is that the pen is mightier than the sword. The program founders believe that education is a better way to help children than policing them.

More Examples

This excerpt is about two people trying to end a conflict through their art rather than by physical fighting.

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a group of famed editorial cartoonists hope the pen is mightier than the sword.

  • A traveling exhibit of their work that promotes peace and reconciliation in the Middle East opened Thursday night in Manhattan. –New York Daily News

This excerpt is about a superhero who fights for the cause of education.

  • “She doesn’t punch. She doesn’t hit, she doesn’t kick, she doesn’t shoot anybody, all she does is clonk people on the heads with books or throw pens,” Rashid told CBS. “So there’s an underlying message with that – the importance of education — and the pen is mightier than the sword.” –New York Daily News


The phrase the pen is mightier than the sword means that physical fighting is not as effective as more intellectual ways to solve a conflict.