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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then one of the detectives, Brian Conte, asked the teen — who was 15 years old at the time — to agree to a DNA swab. Sarah Volpenhein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 30 Apr. 2022 Police sometimes ask people who are questioned or suspected of crimes but never arrested to submit to a DNA swab. Emily Mullin, Wired, 24 Feb. 2022 During the trial, Chicago Detective Michael Theis testified that Smollett was unhelpful during his police department’s initial investigation into the attack, and refused to take a DNA swab or hand over his cell phone. Marisa Dellatto, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 Murray said from the onset of the investigation, Smollett refused to turn over his cell phone and medical records and opted out of a DNA swab that could test for evidence from his attackers, according to AP News. Natalie Hope Mcdonald, Vulture, 2 Dec. 2021 Franklin was finally caught after his 28-year-old son, Christopher, was arrested for carrying a weapon in the summer of 2009 and had to give up a DNA swab. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, 30 Nov. 2021 Participants will then register from their phones and take a swab of their inner cheek. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 5 Mar. 2021 The search warrant requested authorization to take a DNA swab from Elliott, which was granted, for purposes of comparing it to DNA gathered for the rape kit. al, 18 Feb. 2021 Fryar and another agent questioned Peterson and took a DNA swab from him. oregonlive, 28 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To use the tests, people swab themselves about halfway up their nose, add their sample and a liquid solution to the test strip and get results within minutes. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, 14 Jan. 2022 Dave Coil, a project scientist at the UC Davis Genome Center, worked on a pilot effort to swab air filters at local elementary schools to collect samples. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Apr. 2022 Imagine being able to swab the inside of your mouth, place it in a device and quickly know whether you’re infected with COVID-19. Meredith Cohn, Baltimore Sun, 29 Mar. 2022 Most of the at-home tests still ask you to swab just your nose. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Jan. 2022 Neither was what happened next: Before taking it home, the hunter let a wildlife biologist affiliated with a government program swab the carcass for lab analysis. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, 24 Jan. 2022 Patrick Ashley, the head of emergency response for the D.C. health department, said that the school district would rather students spend the school day in their classrooms than with a medical professional attempting to swab their noses. Washington Post, 10 Dec. 2021 An antigen test, on the other hand, pushes your nose-swab sample onto a paper laced with antibodies to detect viral protein. Joanna Stern, WSJ, 27 Jan. 2022 Please don’t go sticking that #COVID19 testing swab down your throat. NBC News, 14 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About swab

Dictionary Entries Near swab

SW

swab

swabber

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Statistics for swab

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Swab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swab. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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

swab

transitive verb
swabbed; swabbing

Medical Definition of swab (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on swab

Nglish: Translation of swab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swab for Arabic Speakers

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