From Middle English swopen, from Old English swāpan (to sweep). See also sweep.


  • enPR: swūp, IPA(key): /ˈswuːp/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːp


swoop (third-person singular simple present swoops, present participle swooping, simple past and past participle swooped)

  1. (intransitive) To fly or glide downwards suddenly; to plunge (in the air) or nosedive.
    The lone eagle swooped down into the lake, snatching its prey, a small fish.
  2. (intransitive) To move swiftly, as if with a sweeping movement, especially to attack something.
    The dog had enthusiastically swooped down on the bone.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      There was a person called Nana who ruled the nursery. Sometimes she took no notice of the playthings lying about, and sometimes, for no reason whatever, she went swooping about like a great wind and hustled them away in cupboards.
  3. (transitive) To fall on at once and seize; to catch while on the wing.
    A hawk swoops a chicken.
  4. (transitive) To seize; to catch up; to take with a sweep.
  5. To pass with pomp; to sweep.
    • 1612, Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion song 1 p. 6[1]:
      Proude Tamer swoopes along, with such a lustie traine
      As fits so brave a flood two Countries that divides:


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.


swoop (plural swoops)

  1. An instance, or the act of suddenly plunging downward.
    The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim. – Sun Tzu
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the china dog that always slept with him. Nana was in a hurry, and it was too much trouble to hunt for china dogs at bedtime, so she simply looked about her, and seeing that the toy cupboard door stood open, she made a swoop.
  2. A sudden act of seizing.
    • 1612, John Webster, The White Devil
      Fortune's a right whore. If she give ought, she deals it in small parcels, that she may take away all at one swoop.
  3. (music) A quick passage from one note to the next.
    • 2008, Russell Dean Vines, Composing Digital Music For Dummies (page 281)
      Originally, computers' attempts at making music were recognizable by their beeps and boops and weird swoops.


See alsoEdit