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 Moderna nasal swabbed patients directly before the second dose, and Oxford asked some to do nasal swab tests after getting the second dose. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Can vaccinated people still spread COVID-19? Here’s what we know.," 14 Jan. 2021 The roughly 90-minute visit included a physical, a blood draw and a COVID-19 nasal swab test, as well as the first injection. Angie Leventis Lourgos, chicagotribune.com, "Some COVID-19 vaccines are nearly ready for use. Others are still being tested. Here are some of the local volunteers taking part in vaccine trials.," 11 Dec. 2020 The tests, known as PCR tests, are administered with a nasal swab. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "LAX begins rapid coronavirus testing for travelers," 31 Dec. 2020 According to the product's online listing, the at-home testing kit comes with a sterile nasal swab, a dropper and processing fluid, as well as an analyzer that connects to an individual's smartphone through Bluetooth and an associated app. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, "FDA Approves At-Home COVID-19 Test That Works for Children Over 2 and Doesn't Require Prescription," 16 Dec. 2020 The test is still the same — a PCR test that involves a five-second swab in each nostril, not a deep poke back toward the brain. Washington Post, "D.C. hires second lab to process growing number of coronavirus tests," 8 Dec. 2020 The saliva test was less intimidating than a nasal swab. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Need a COVID test? Minnesota makes it more convenient," 28 Nov. 2020 The Detect test comes in a small package that includes a swab, a vial and a reader to process the test. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Connecticut-based company will soon introduce an at-home COVID-19 test that could make detection easy," 25 Nov. 2020 Her positive result was followed by a negative swab a few weeks later. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "You're Not Imagining It: The Pandemic Is Triggering Stress-Induced Hair Loss," 20 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For some rapid tests, users can swab themselves at home. Matthew Perrone, Star Tribune, "Which COVID-19 tests are required for international travel?," 7 Feb. 2021 Most schoolchildren will be required to swab themselves, under the supervision of a school employee or a volunteer. New York Times, "U.K. Virus Surge Surpasses Spring Peak as Lockdown Choices Loom," 29 Dec. 2020 At the coronavirus testing kiosk near the station’s entrance, about a dozen people waited in line to swab their mouths and pass the sample to a healthcare worker through a secure submission box. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Dire COVID warnings go unheeded as many insist on Christmas traditions; officials fear new surge," 22 Dec. 2020 The kits, which allow users to swab their gums and get results in 20 minutes, will be available to order online for the next three months, said Tito Terry, HIV Program Coordinator for the District 4 office of the Georgia Department of Health. Leon Stafford, ajc, "Health leaders offering Henry Countians free home HIV tests," 14 Dec. 2020 Then, use a disinfecting wipe or a cotton ball dampened with 70% isopropyl alcohol to swab all sides and let air dry. Brigitt Earley, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Should Clean At Home After Someone Has Been Sick," 11 Dec. 2020 The company's test allows users to swab themselves to collect a nasal sample. CBS News, "FDA grants first emergency use authorization for at-home rapid coronavirus test," 18 Nov. 2020 The company's test allows users to swab themselves to collect a nasal sample. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: FDA grants emergency use for first at-home rapid test; US museums face 'unsustainable' future; 248K US deaths," 18 Nov. 2020 People swab themselves and swirl it in a vial that is then placed in a test unit. NBC News, "FDA authorizes first at-home Covid-19 test that gives users results quickly," 17 Nov. 2020

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

16 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Swab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swab. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for swab

swab

noun

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

Nglish: Translation of swab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swab for Arabic Speakers

Comments on swab

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