\ ˈswät How to pronounce swat (audio) \
swatted; swatting

Definition of swat

 (Entry 1 of 5)

transitive verb

: to hit with a sharp slapping blow usually with an instrument (such as a bat or flyswatter) swatted the ball for a home run

Definition of swat (Entry 2 of 5)

1 : a powerful or crushing blow
2 : a long hit in baseball especially : home run
swatted; swatting; swats

Definition of swat (Entry 3 of 5)

transitive + intransitive

: to make a false report of an ongoing serious crime in order to elicit a response from law enforcement (such as the dispatch of a SWAT unit) Special FBI Agent John Bennett of San Francisco said in a statement to CBS, that those who swat want to see "a tactical response" – specifically, they "want to see armed officers, they want to see a bomb, dogs, helicopters – that's all part of the fun."— Bryn Lovitt The congresswoman had just been "swatted," or subjected to a malicious act in which a person hides their identity, then calls the cops and reports a violent crime at the address of whomever they're targeting.— Ryan Grenoble


noun (2), often attributive
\ ˈswät How to pronounce SWAT (audio) \

Definition of SWAT (Entry 4 of 5)

: a police or military unit specially trained and equipped to handle unusually hazardous situations or missions


geographical name
\ ˈswät How to pronounce Swat (audio) \

Definition of Swat (Entry 5 of 5)

river 400 miles (644 kilometers) long in Pakistan flowing into the Kabul River

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Other Words from swat

Verb (2)

swatting noun
Prosecutors say that in addition to initiating the swatting episode in Kansas … Mr. Barriss made dozens of other, similar calls to emergency and law enforcement agencies across the country during which he falsely reported bomb threats, active shootings and other criminal activity at high schools, shopping malls and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation. — Matt Stevens and Andrew R. Chow

Examples of swat in a Sentence

Verb (1) She swatted the fly with a magazine. The cat was swatting the injured mouse with its paw. He swatted the tennis ball out of bounds. Noun (1) the impatient toddler got a swat on his wrist for stepping into the street by himself
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While some of the recent goals have been unorthodox (two 4 on 3 goals, and Charlie Coyle’s swat out of midair in Boston come to mind), there are two main categories of goals that have foiled the Stars. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Why the Stars penalty kill has struggled recently, and how they plan to fix it," 6 Mar. 2020 Then there’s the assumption that because a tail works hard (swatting flies, etc.), its meat will have a tough, chewy texture. Kathleen Squires, WSJ, "How to Get a Winter Stew Just Right," 27 Feb. 2020 Many of the responses were laced with profanity, as well as suggestions for ex-girlfriends who should be swatted. Sheera Frenkel, New York Times, "People Are Calling SWAT Teams to Tech Executives’ Homes," 23 Jan. 2020 The European Union was still thriving, expanding at the time, and could shrug off a loud and sometimes foul-mouthed British parliamentarian as just a nuisance about to be swatted aside by the force of history of closer integration. Washington Post, "Nigel Farage gets his way, and last laugh: Brexit is coming," 14 Jan. 2020 Ellington had sparse chances throughout, and the shots the Knights were able to get off were often swallowed up or swatted away by Stonington keeper Peter Fernholz, who made four saves in the first half alone. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "Class M boys soccer: Late goal lifts Stonington over top-seeded Ellington 1-0," 23 Nov. 2019 On one day, Brown might get his shot swatted away by Christian Koloko. Bruce Pascoe, azcentral, "Nevada transfer Jordan Brown staying positive, waiting for his time with Arizona Wildcats," 4 Oct. 2019 The hand-eye coordination used to casually swat down opposing passes like fat flies? Honed by simultaneously juggling a golf ball on his hockey stick and climbing over hurdles. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Double Duty: The Value of a Two-Way Forward in Today’s NHL," 2 Oct. 2019 Any peace, however, will almost certainly be temporary, interrupted by an annoying buzz that signals it's time to start swatting away and, if that doesn't work, spend the rest of the night scratching some itchy welts. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "We’ve figured out how mosquitos sense our warmth," 7 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the Spurs’ season continues to slide toward the abyss — the loss to Dallas bumped them to 12th place in the Western Conference standings — moments like Walker’s Wednesday’s swat-a-thon provide a glimmer of hope. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs’ Lonnie Walker IV hopes best is yet to come," 27 Feb. 2020 Gray's swat generated a fast-break layup for Wyoming senior Evan Prater, who turned in one of his best performances in his final regular-season game. Shelby Dermer, Cincinnati.com, "After 21-0 regular season, can Wyoming boys basketball win a DII state championship?," 15 Feb. 2020 Turkey had gone 0 for 9 on shots before Ilyasova’s swat bounced off the rim and dropped through the net. Tim Reynolds, BostonGlobe.com, "US narrowly avoids shocking upset in basketball World Cup," 3 Sep. 2019 His swat-a-thon was emblematic of a Spurs’ defensive surge that, given the team’s ineptitude on that end for much of the season, came out of nowhere. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs’ block party sends Leonard, Clippers home empty-handed," 29 Nov. 2019 Frankfort: The state would ban the paddling of students under a bill that won House passage Friday after a couple of state lawmakers recalled being on the receiving end of disciplinary swats. USA TODAY, "Crane season, corporal punishment, Common Core: News from around our 50 states," 11 Feb. 2020 On the football side, a 1988 AFC Championship ring from the shuffling, swat-team Cincinnati Bengals will sell between $5,000-$7,000. Shelby Dermer, Cincinnati.com, "How much is your sports memorabilia worth? Items of these Cincinnati legends are the most valuable," 7 Feb. 2020 At 7-foot-2, the easy dunks and intimidating swats are expected. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets Journal: Rookie Bol Bol might be Denver’s latest second-round steal," 22 Nov. 2019 Fearful or anxious individuals may also retreat backwards in avoidance, hide themselves, make their fur stand on edge (piloerection), growl, hiss, spit, swat, or bite. Popular Science, "We’re surprisingly bad at reading cats’ facial expressions," 3 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swat.' 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 swat

Verb (1)

circa 1796, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

circa 1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

2007, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1968, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swat

Verb (1)

English dialect, to squat, alteration of English squat

Verb (2)

verbal derivative of swat

Noun (2)

special weapons and tactics

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Time Traveler for swat

Time Traveler

The first known use of swat was circa 1796

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Statistics for swat

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swat. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for swat


How to pronounce Swat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of SWAT

chiefly US : a police or military unit that is specially trained to handle very dangerous situations


\ ˈswät How to pronounce swat (audio) \
swatted; swatting

Kids Definition of swat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to hit with a quick hard blow I swatted a fly.



Kids Definition of swat (Entry 2 of 2)

: a hard blow

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More from Merriam-Webster on swat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swat

Spanish Central: Translation of swat

Nglish: Translation of swat for Spanish Speakers

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