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 According to the manufacturer, NanoBio Protect is similar in concept to a hand sanitizer, but is designed for use on the skin inside and around the nose where germs frequently enter the body and can be applied with a standard cotton swab. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Ann Arbor company says its nasal antiseptic can kill coronavirus," 12 May 2020 Amazon Care is also delivering and picking up self-swab kits to people in Washington state’s King County as part of a research effort backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, or SCAN. Erin Brodwin, STAT, "Amazon lends its expertise — and its cash — to Covid-19 research," 7 May 2020 The man rolled up his window, inserted a swab in each nostril and twirled. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Free pop-up COVID-19 testing near Talkeetna is Alaska’s first — but not the last," 2 May 2020 For any narrow grooves, use a cotton swab—just be careful not to get any liquid into the controls. Brigitt Earley, Good Housekeeping, "8 Places in Your Home That Are Dirtier Than You Think," 1 May 2020 The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first at-home test, a nasal swab said to be safe and accurate. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "10 COVID-19 scams spreading right now that people are falling for," 30 Apr. 2020 Submerge the tip of a cotton swab in the lemon-water solution, and use it to write your secret message on some paper. Popular Science, "Stay-at-home science project: Leave secret messages with invisible ink," 28 Apr. 2020 Drummond said after people are approved for testing, the actual screening process usually takes no more than two minutes and consists of a nasal and throat swab. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Fort Bend's Oakbend Medical Center opens private COVID-19 testing site, says it has plenty of tests," 27 Mar. 2020 Once, a woman wearing a mask, plastic gloves, surgical booties, and pajamas walked past me holding a package, a bottle of disinfectant, and a cotton swab. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, "Life on Lockdown in China," 23 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Massachusetts has so far been able to swab roughly 100,000 individuals, an increase made possible with the help of 22 labs. John Tozzi, Bloomberg.com, "U.S. States Prepare Test-and-Trace Programs to Reopen Their Economies," 10 May 2020 Those cases aren’t included in Nevada County’s count; test results are registered in a patient’s home county, not where they were swabbed. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "In pandemic, it’s ‘us versus them’," 26 Apr. 2020 In New York, 10 Army medics or Air National Guard medical technicians assist with swabbing patients, while another 30 personnel manage tasks such as directing traffic at each site. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Governors use National Guard for coronavirus testing but need government help for test kits," 24 Apr. 2020 Once the flu and other respiratory ailments are ruled out, patients are swabbed for the coronavirus either inside their doctor’s office or at a lab used by their doctor’s health care network, local health care officials said. Antonio Olivo, Washington Post, "So you need a coronavirus test? It’s not that simple.," 13 Mar. 2020 Sandra's hands were swabbed for gunshot residue, her clothes were collected, and then the questioning began. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger, CBS News, ""Please help him": Police body cameras show what happened after Texas man was killed," 7 Mar. 2020 Representatives found total coliforms, bacteria that live in human and animal intestines, on almost every surface that was swabbed. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Swab study finds fecal matter, E. coli bacteria at Austin City Limits music festival locations," 11 Oct. 2019 Patients will swab their own nose using a testing kit sent by the company and will mail it in an insulated package back to the company. BostonGlobe.com, "FDA approves first in-home test for coronavirus," 21 Apr. 2020 To perform the Covid-19 test, a clinician swabs the patient's nose, throat, or airway deep inside the nose, then dunks the swab in the ID NOW test cartridge, where a chemical solution breaks open the virus and releases its RNA. Amos Zeeberg, Wired, "Coronavirus Testing Is Coming Closer to Your Doctor's Office," 14 Apr. 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 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swab. Accessed 28 May. 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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