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verb \ˈswēp\

Simple Definition of sweep

  • : to remove (something, such as dust or dirt) from a surface with a broom or brush or with a quick movement of your hand, fingers, etc.

  • : to remove dust, dirt, etc., from (something) with a broom or brush

  • : to move or pass quickly, forcefully, or smoothly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sweep


play \ˈswept\


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to remove from a surface with or as if with a broom or brush <swept the crumbs from the table>b :  to destroy completely :  wipe out —usually used with away <everything she cherished, might be swept away overnight — Louis Bromfield>c :  to remove or take with a single continuous forceful action <swept the books off the desk>d :  to remove from sight or consideration <the problem can't be swept under the rug>e :  to drive or carry along with irresistible force <a wave of protest that swept the opposition into office>

  3. 2a :  to clean with or as if with a broom or brushb :  to clear by repeated and forcible actionc :  to move across or along swiftly, violently, or overwhelmingly <fire swept the business district — American Guide Series: Maryland>d :  to win an overwhelming victory in or on <sweep the elections>e :  to win all the games or contests of <sweep a double-header> <sweep a series>

  4. 3 :  to touch in passing with a swift continuous movement

  5. 4 :  to trace or describe the locus or extent of (as a line, circle, or angle)

  6. 5 :  to cover the entire range of <his eyes swept the horizon>

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1a :  to clean a surface with or as if with a broomb :  to move swiftly, forcefully, or devastatingly <the wind swept through the treetops>

  9. 2 :  to go with stately or sweeping movements <proudly swept into the room>

  10. 3 :  to move or extend in a wide curve or range

sweep one off one's feet

  1. :  to gain immediate and unquestioning support, approval, or acceptance by a person

sweep the board


sweep the table

  1. 1 :  to win all the bets on the table

  2. 2 :  to win everything :  beat all competitors

Examples of sweep in a sentence

  1. He swept the dirt off the driveway.

  2. He swept the crumbs from the table.

  3. I need to sweep the kitchen.

  4. Are you finished sweeping the porch?

  5. A storm swept across the plains.

  6. Fires swept through the forest.

  7. She proudly swept into the room.

  8. The limo swept up to the door.

  9. He swept the curtains aside.

  10. She swept the books off the desk.

Origin and Etymology of sweep

Middle English swepen; akin to Old English swāpan to sweep, Old High German sweifen to wander

First Known Use: 14th century




Simple Definition of sweep

  • : an act of cleaning an area with a broom or brush

  • : a long, smooth movement often in a wide curve

  • : a large area of land often forming a wide curve

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sweep

  1. 1 :  something that sweeps or works with a sweeping motion: asa :  a long pole or timber pivoted on a tall post and used to raise and lower a bucket in a wellb :  a triangular cultivator blade that cuts off weeds under the soil surfacec :  a windmill sail

  2. 2a :  an instance of sweeping; especially :  a clearing out or away with or as if with a broomb :  the removal from the table in one play in casino of all the cards by pairing or combiningc :  an overwhelming victoryd :  a winning of all the contests or prizes in a competitione :  a wide-ranging search of an area (as by police)

  3. 3a :  a movement of great range and forceb :  a curving or circular course or linec :  the compass of a sweeping movement :  scoped :  a broad unbroken area or extent <a sweep of wildflowers>e :  an end run in football in which one or more linemen pull back and run interference for the ballcarrier

  4. 4 :  chimney sweep

  5. 5 :  sweepstakes

  6. 6 :  obliquity with respect to a reference line <sweep of an airplane wing>; especially :  sweepback

  7. 7 plural :  a television ratings period during which surveys are taken to determine advertising rates

Examples of sweep in a sentence

  1. <Mrs. Griswold has been a teacher for so long that the sweep of her influence extends across three generations of the townspeople.>

Illustration of sweep


First Known Use of sweep


Synonym Discussion of sweep

range, gamut, compass, sweep, scope, orbit mean the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control). range is a general term indicating the extent of one's perception or the extent of powers, capacities, or possibilities <the entire range of human experience>. gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another <a performance that ran the gamut of emotions>. compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity <your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study>. sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity <the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity>. scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible <as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened>. orbit suggests an often circumscribed range of activity or influence within which forces work toward accommodation <within that restricted orbit they tried to effect social change>.

SWEEP Defined for Kids



verb \ˈswēp\

Definition of sweep for Students




  1. 1 :  to remove with a broom or brush <Please sweep up the dirt.>

  2. 2 :  to clean by removing loose dirt or small trash with a broom or brush <I need to sweep the floor.>

  3. 3 :  to move over or across swiftly often with force or destruction <Fire swept the village.>

  4. 4 :  to move or gather as if with a broom or brush <I swept the money from the table.>

  5. 5 :  to move the eyes or an instrument through a wide curve <They swept the hill for some sign of the enemy.>

  6. 6 :  to touch a surface of quickly <The musician's fingers swept the piano keys.>

  7. 7 :  to drive along with steady force <Debris was swept away by the tide.>

  8. 8 :  to become suddenly very popular throughout <It's a show that is sweeping the nation.>

  9. 9 :  to achieve a complete or easy victory






Definition of sweep for Students

  1. 1 :  a curving movement, course, or line <I brushed it away with a sweep of my hand.>

  2. 2 :  an act or instance of cleaning with a broom or brush

  3. 3 :  a wide stretch or curve of land

  4. 4 :  something that sweeps or works with a sweeping motion

  5. 5 :  a complete or easy victory

  6. 6 :  1range 2, scope <The island was outside the sweep of our vision.>

  7. 7 :  chimney sweep

Seen and Heard

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a dwelling place or home

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