From Middle English swepen, and perhaps from Old English swēop, the past tense form of Old English swāpan, from Proto-West Germanic *swaipan, from Proto-Germanic *swaipaną. Cognate with Early Modern West Frisian swiepe (“whip, cleanse, sweep”), from Old Frisian swēpa, suepa (“sweep”). See also swoop.
- (transitive) To clean (a surface) by means of a stroking motion of a broom or brush.
- to sweep a floor, the street, or a chimney
- (intransitive) To move through a (horizontal) arc or similar long stroke.
- The wind sweeps across the plain.
- The offended countess swept out of the ballroom.
- (transitive) To search (a place) methodically.
- (intransitive, figuratively) To travel quickly.
- 2011 February 1, Phil McNulty, “Arsenal 2-1 Everton”, in BBC:
- Everton took that disputed lead in a moment that caused anger to sweep around the Emirates.
- (cricket) To play a sweep shot.
- (curling) To brush the ice in front of a moving stone, causing it to travel farther and to curl less.
- (transitive, ergative) To move something in a long sweeping motion, as a broom.
- (sports, transitive) To win (a series) without drawing or losing any of the games in that series.
- (sports, transitive) To defeat (a team) in a series without drawing or losing any of the games in that series.
- (transitive) To remove something abruptly and thoroughly.
- She swept the peelings off the table onto the floor.
- The wind sweeps the snow from the hills.
- The flooded river swept away the wooden dam.
- 2013 June 7, Ed Pilkington, “‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 6:
- In his submission to the UN, [Christof] Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
- To brush against or over; to rub lightly along.
- Their long descending train, / With rubies edg'd and sapphires, swept the plain.
- Mind you, clothes were clothes in those days. […] Frills, ruffles, flounces, lace, complicated seams and gores: not only did they sweep the ground and have to be held up in one hand elegantly as you walked along, but they had little capes or coats or feather boas.
- To carry with a long, swinging, or dragging motion; hence, to carry in a stately or proud fashion.
- 1591, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Sixt”, 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 III, scene iii]:
- And like a peacock sweep along his tail.
- To strike with a long stroke.
- 1708, Alexander Pope, Ode for Music on St Cecilia's Day:
- Wake into voice each silent string, / And sweep the sounding lyre.
- (rowing) To row with one oar to either the port or starboard side.
- (nautical) To draw or drag something over.
- to sweep the bottom of a river with a net
- To pass over, or traverse, with the eye or with an instrument of observation.
- to sweep the heavens with a telescope
- (US, regional, including Ohio and Indiana) to vacuum a carpet or rug
- 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.
sweep (plural sweeps)
- A single action of sweeping.
- Give the front steps a quick sweep to get rid of those fallen leaves.
- The person who steers a dragon boat.
- A person who stands at the stern of a surf boat, steering with a steering oar and commanding the crew.
- A chimney sweep.
- 1961 February, "Balmore", “Driving and firing modern French steam locomotives - Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, page 112:
- He was, perhaps, the English railwayman's conception of the French mécanicien - short and broad, black as a sweep even before we left Calais (but no blacker than I was on arrival at Paris) and wearing goggles and his uniform cap back to front.
- A methodical search, typically for bugs (electronic listening devices).
- (cricket) A batsman's shot, played from a kneeling position with a swinging horizontal bat.
- Bradman attempted a sweep, but in fact top edged the ball to the wicket keeper
- A lottery, usually on the results of a sporting event, where players win if their randomly chosen team wins.
- Jim will win fifty dollars in the office sweep if Japan wins the World Cup.
- A flow of water parallel to shore caused by wave action at an ocean beach or at a point or headland.
- (martial arts) A throw or takedown that primarily uses the legs to attack an opponent's legs.
- Violent and general destruction.
- the sweep of an epidemic disease
- (metalworking) A movable template for making moulds, in loam moulding.
- (card games) In the game casino, the act of capturing all face-up cards from the table.
- The compass of any turning body or of any motion.
- the sweep of a door; the sweep of the eye
- Direction or departure of a curve, a road, an arch, etc. away from a rectilinear line.
- A large oar used in small vessels, partly to propel them and partly to steer them.
- (rowing) A rowing style in which each rower rows with oar on either the port or starboard side.
- I am primarily a sweep rower.
- (refining, obsolete) The almond furnace.
- A long pole, or piece of timber, moved on a horizontal fulcrum fixed to a tall post and used to raise and lower a bucket in a well for drawing water.
- Any of the blades of a windmill.
- (in the plural) The sweepings of workshops where precious metals are worked, containing filings, etc.
- Any of several sea chubs in the family Kyphosidae (subfamily Scorpidinae).
- 1993, Tim Winton, Land's Edge, Picador 2014, p. 28:
- Octopus clambered about from hole to hole and startled sweep blurred away as we passed.
- 1993, Tim Winton, Land's Edge, Picador 2014, p. 28:
- An expanse or a swath, a strip of land.
- sweep in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- “sweep”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
- A whip.
sweep m (plural sweeps)
- (electric guitar) sweep (arpeggio played with a single movement of the picking hand)