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verb (1)

swatted; swatting

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


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noun (1)

: a powerful or crushing blow
: a long hit in baseball
especially : home run


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verb (2)

swatted; swatting; swats

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
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


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noun (2)

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Most came from guards sagging down on Edey and swatting it away. Eddie Pells, The Mercury News, 6 Apr. 2024 And then Martin swatting Darrion Trammell’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Mar. 2024 Don’t waste your summer swatting and chasing away pesky pests. Cincinnati Enquirer, The Enquirer, 29 Mar. 2024 Davis would have swatted or altered or just plain stopped much of that mess. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2024 Carlos Alcaraz, who was early into a match with Alexander Zverev, was seen in the video swatting away the bees and then backing up and looking around in confusion. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 15 Mar. 2024 Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively each swatted several shots at the rim into the stands. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 14 Mar. 2024 Needless to say, this is a must for anyone who hates swatting flies away while enjoying the great outdoors. Marilyn La Jeunesse, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Mar. 2024 Except Padilla – a lithe 5-foot-9 guard who wasn’t known for her defense before arriving at USC from Penn – chased down and swatted Jones’ layup away, setting the stage for overtime. Luca Evans, Orange County Register, 9 Mar. 2024
That prompted the mom in front of me to quickly cover her ears — and her (possibly embarrassed) daughter to swat away at her hands. Journal Sentinel, 17 Mar. 2024 The Kurdish fighters guard the camp’s perimeter in swat vehicles, and a primarily Kurdish civilian administration manages the camp bureaucracy, coördinating with aid organizations to distribute rations and deliver such basic services as sewage treatment and water. Anand Gopal, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2024 Kalkbrenner led the Bluejays with 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks — none bigger than his swat of Daniss Jenkins' shot in the final minute that led to Alexander's winning free throws. Eric Olson, USA TODAY, 13 Jan. 2024 After Leo Carlsson drew a penalty, Carrick scored on a mid-air swat of a rebound from a shot by Zellweger in the second period. Greg Beacham, USA TODAY, 24 Jan. 2024 Last May, an officer in Danvers, Massachusetts, accidentally fired his service weapon while responding to a school swat. Dhruv Mehrotra, WIRED, 26 Jan. 2024 Prior to these high-profile swats, a relentless campaign from different, potentially foreign, swatting groups targeted hundreds of schools and universities around the US over the past year and a half. Dhruv Mehrotra, WIRED, 26 Jan. 2024 The last few years of the Real Housewives franchise have seen a whole other level of drama, where FBI swat teams showing up to arrest cast members suddenly became part of the canon. Louis Staples, Rolling Stone, 24 Dec. 2023 Reagan and Kennedy didn’t engage with one another so much as swat away barbs from their hostile inquisitors. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb (1)

English dialect, to squat, alteration of English squat

Verb (2)

verbal derivative of swat

Noun (2)

special weapons and tactics

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of swat was circa 1796

Dictionary Entries Near swat

Cite this Entry

“Swat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swat. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


swatted; swatting
: to hit with a quick hard blow
swat noun
swatter noun

Geographical Definition


geographical name

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

More from Merriam-Webster on swat

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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