noun \ˈswäb\

: a small piece of soft material sometimes on the end of a small stick that is used for applying medicine, cleaning a wound, etc.

: a small amount of material taken with a swab as a sample from a person's body

Full Definition of SWAB

a :  mop; especially :  a yarn mop
b (1) :  a wad of absorbent material usually wound around one end of a small stick and used especially for applying medication or for removing material from an area
(2) :  a specimen taken with a swab
c :  a sponge or cloth patch attached to a long handle and used to clean the bore of a firearm
a :  a useless or contemptible person
b :  sailor, gob

Examples of SWAB

  1. Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to disinfect the area.
  2. The doctor took a throat swab and sent it to the lab.

Origin of SWAB

probably from obsolete Dutch swabbe; akin to Low German swabber mop
First Known Use: 1653

Rhymes with SWAB


transitive verb

: to wipe or clean (something, such as a wound) with a swab


Full Definition of SWAB

:  to clean with or as if with a swab
:  to apply medication to with a swab <swabbed the wound with iodine>

Examples of SWAB

  1. The nurse swabbed the cut with a disinfectant.

Origin of SWAB

back-formation from swabber
First Known Use: 1719


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