Short meaning: The Queen of Swords is a mature woman known for her sharp intellect. She is often alone or single, and has gained wisdom from past loss or suffering. She may work as a professional or lawyer. The Queen of Swords is independent, honest, straightforward, and unpretentious.
Full meaning: In Tarot readings, Queens usually represent adult females, although when not referring to a person the card could mean any personal characteristics of that particular Queen. Swords are a sign of intellect and conflict, action, or change. The Queen of Swords is often a very intelligent woman, but one of action.
The Queen of Swords is a woman with a sharp intellect, both seeking the truth and truthful. She is often a professional, sometimes a lawyer or involved in justice. She may be single and scarred by personal loss, but has good knowledge of the world as a result.
Words that appear often in card meanings for the Queen of Swords include straightforward, determined, perfectionist, independent, formidable, honest, direct, intelligent, no-nonsense, unpretentious, reliable, and she gets things done. Some definitions lean toward the negative, portraying her as harsh and critical, or having experienced hardship or currently struggling, but most of the negative meanings come up in card reversals. Some are interesting, though -- Hollander says that the Queen of Swords is a sign of emotional danger, and the King of Swords a sign of physical danger.
Kettlewell (see Sources) writes, "The Queen of Swords represents a mature woman who is highly intelligent with a complex personality. She is concerned with fine detail and accuracy in all things. She is often a professional person such as a teacher or lawyer and her opinion is greatly valued. She is extremely self-reliant, both emotionally and financially, and is often divorced or has chosen to stay single." (Kettlewell, pp. 196-97)
Dee describes the Queen of Swords as "An independent lady, she is intelligent, rational, and tends to be cool in a crisis. Graceful, possibly with a fondness for music and dancing. She is very alert to undercurrents and should not be underestimated." (Dee, p. 45)
According to The Spiral Tarot deck, "The Queen of Swords is cool, efficient, charming, friendly, and intelligent. She is concerned with fairness and equality between people. She is more friend than lover, for she bears emotional scars from the past." (Steventon, The Spiral Tarot, p. 31)