swab

noun
\ ˈswäb How to pronounce swab (audio) \

Definition of swab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
2a : a useless or contemptible person
b : sailor, gob

swab

verb
swabbed; swabbing

Definition of swab (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to clean with or as if with a swab
2 : to apply medication to with a swab swabbed the wound with iodine

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Examples of swab in a Sentence

Noun Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to disinfect the area. The doctor took a throat swab and sent it to the lab. Verb The nurse swabbed the cut with a disinfectant.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Investigators recovered swabs of suspected blood from the truck’s interior and exterior, as well as possible blood from the Fusion. al, "Birmingham man says he killed 3 in Illinois after trying to trade drugs for truck," 31 Jan. 2020 After his arrest, police obtained a search warrant allowing them to get a swab of Koehler's DNA to confirm the match, Fernandez Rundle said Thursday. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Officials believe they've found the 'Pillowcase Rapist.' The suspect was building a 'dungeon' beneath his home, officials say," 23 Jan. 2020 Rini refused to provide the agents with fingerprints but allowed them to take a swab from his cheek for DNA testing. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Medina man who pretended to be missing Illinois boy pleads guilty to federal charge," 8 Jan. 2020 Detectives took a swab of Usry's DNA and awaited the results. Judy Rybak, CBS News, "Could your DNA help catch a killer?," 8 Nov. 2019 And yet rising concerns of data breaches or an overreach by law enforcement have made some people reticent about voluntarily spitting into a tube or taking a swab of the cheek, even as this popular pastime continues to grow. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "DNA testing can share all your family secrets. Are you ready for that?," 4 July 2019 Cheek swabs were collected from both sides on Nov. 8 at a lab in Oklahoma City, Lancaster said in an interview. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, "Filing: No doubt dad of Arkansas baby is Biden son," 21 Nov. 2019 She also cleverly pre-soaks cotton swabs in makeup remover and puts them in a plastic baggie for ultimate portability. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "9 Easy Tips for Healthy, Happy Skin While Traveling," 25 Oct. 2019 From November 2016 to September 2017, Smith compiled 36 documents related to 52 separate swab and ground beef samples that all purported to show the samples tested negative for E. coli, prosecutors said. Zach Murdock, courant.com, "Stafford Springs meat packing plant employee pleads guilty to faking E. coli test results," 23 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Florida Division of Food Safety, however, doesn’t have the money or manpower to swab for listeria at every, or even many, supermarkets, state officials say. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Penn Dutch-type germs are common in supermarkets, but the state rarely tests for them," 4 Oct. 2019 Researchers will compare swabbed C-section babies with a placebo group and with infants delivered vaginally. Sara Reardon, Scientific American, "Trials Test if C-section Babies Benefit From Mom’s Microbes," 17 Aug. 2019 According to the US National Library of Medicine, one variation of the test involves swabbing the inside of a patient's nose and throat; another involves injecting a saline solution into the nose and then removing the sample with a suction. Leah Groth, Health.com, "Lizzo Just Shared Video of Her Rapid Flu Test on Instagram—But What Is That?," 17 Dec. 2019 This observation has led some parents to swab infants born by c-section with vaginal fluids, in an attempt to restore any missing microbes. Ewen Callaway, Scientific American, "C-Section Babies Are Missing Key Microbes," 18 Sep. 2019 Then one of the officers pulled out a warrant and swabbed his cheek for DNA. CBS News, "How a discarded cigarette led to an arrest in Idaho teen Angie Dodge's cold case murder," 9 Nov. 2019 Ephraim, for his part, applies himself and bristles by turns, hauling lamp oil, greasing machinery, swabbing, and shingling. BostonGlobe.com, "Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in “The Lighthouse.”," 17 Oct. 2019 Of these, 31 showed antiviral activity in viruses swabbed from the nasal passages of people with flu. Neil Savage, Scientific American, "The push for better flu therapies," 18 Sep. 2019 On a recent visit to the lab, Stringfellow, 17, and Muthemba worked side by side, carefully growing bacteria swabbed from the mouths of lab mice. Alison Kuznitz, BostonGlobe.com, "Science in their DNA: Internship at Harvard affiliate inspires high school students," 21 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swab.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of swab

Noun

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1719, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for swab

Noun

probably from obsolete Dutch swabbe; akin to Low German swabber mop

Verb

back-formation from swabber

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Statistics for swab

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swab. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for swab

swab

noun
How to pronounce swab (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

swab

verb

English Language Learners Definition of swab (Entry 2 of 2)

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

swab

noun
\ ˈswäb How to pronounce swab (audio) \

Kids Definition of swab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a yarn mop especially as used on a ship
2 : a wad of absorbent material usually wound around the end of a small stick and used for applying or removing material (as medicine or makeup)

swab

verb
swabbed; swabbing

Kids Definition of swab (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to clean with or as if with a mop A boy swabbed the ship's deck.
2 : to apply medication to with a wad of absorbent material A nurse swabbed the wound with iodine.

swab

noun
\ ˈswäb How to pronounce swab (audio) \

Medical Definition of swab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a wad of absorbent material usually wound around one end of a small stick and used for applying medication or for removing material from an area
2 : a specimen taken with a swab a throat swab
swabbed; swabbing

Medical Definition of swab (Entry 2 of 2)

: to apply medication to with a swab swabbed the wound with iodine

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More from Merriam-Webster on swab

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swab

Spanish Central: Translation of swab

Nglish: Translation of swab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swab for Arabic Speakers

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