\ˈswät͟h, ˈswȯt͟h, ˈswāt͟h\
variants: or swath \ ˈswät͟h , ˈswäth, ˈswȯt͟h, ˈswȯth \

Definition of swathe 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a band used in swathing

2 : an enveloping medium


\ˈswät͟h, ˈswȯt͟h, ˈswāt͟h\
swathed; swathing

Definition of swathe (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bind, wrap, or swaddle with or as if with a bandage

2 : envelop a mountain swathed by clouds

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Examples of swathe in a Sentence


The nurse swathed the wounded soldier's leg in bandages. Her neck was swathed in jewels.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The district, located on Staten Island and a weird idiosyncratically conservative swathe of Brooklyn, has long been the only winnable House district for Republicans in New York City. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "3 winners and 2 losers from the primaries in South Carolina, New York, Utah, and Colorado," 27 June 2018 So the news that the EPRDF would in fact liberalise swathes of the economy to boost growth and exports came as another shock. The Economist, "Ethiopia’s new prime minister wants peace and privatisation," 7 June 2018 Guatemala’s demand covers a large hunk of the mainland, several islands and a wide swathe of sea territory. The Economist, "Guatemala votes to demand 53% of its neighbour’s territory," 19 Apr. 2018 These types of robotic telescope networks are capable of constantly monitoring large swathes of the sky and providing valuable data every few days. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, ""Brightest Supernova Ever" Turns Out to Be a Star Ripped Apart by a Supermassive Black Hole," 12 Dec. 2016 First, large swathes of citizens eligible for early pensions have been left untouched, in particular those working in hazardous conditions, such as miners and members of the military and security services. The Economist, "Russia will raise pension ages that date back to Stalin," 30 June 2018 His armor, horse and saddle were slathered in thick monochromatic swathes of grey and red. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Restorationist Botches 16th-Century Spanish Statue of Saint," 28 June 2018 Facebook has been under pressure since the revelations that vast swathes of data were held by British firm Cambridge Analytica, after it was obtained from a researcher who shared the data without the social network’s permission. Giles Turner, Bloomberg.com, "Facebook to Send Chief Tech Officer to Face U.K. Lawmakers," 6 Apr. 2018 In the power vacuum of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, rampant charcoal logging has destroyed huge swathes of Virunga National Park. The Economist, "How illegal charcoal fuels war and harms the environment," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The violet makeup appeared to have just a touch of sheen, and was swathed out to the end of the brows in a cat eye fashion. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Amandla Stenberg Wore Purple Eyeshadow on "The Hate U Give" Red Carpet," 5 Oct. 2018 Standing next to me alongside pools of meltwater frosted over in the morning shade, a baby swathed in a red snowsuit is harnessed to his American father’s chest, staring at it all. Daniel Otis, Sunset, "Awe-Inspiring Canadian Rockies Camping Adventure," 22 Jan. 2018 Although the drone program is swathed in secrecy — the C.I.A. and the military share responsibility for it — American drones have been used to carry out airstrikes in at least eight different countries, analysts believe. New York Times, "The Wounds of the Drone Warrior," 13 June 2018 The three varied premieres that make up Program D — the last program of San Francisco Ballet’s historic Unbound Festival on Thursday, April 26, at the War Memorial Opera House — were swathed in an aura of contemporary chic. Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle, "Pita’s ‘Bjork Ballet’ a stunning work in S.F. Ballet’s final Unbound program," 27 Apr. 2018 But her credibility as a moderating force, a gracious presence swathed in silk and lace, has been significantly undermined by her own hand. Robin Givhan, Houston Chronicle, "Nothing else Melania Trump wears will ever matter again," 13 July 2018 The first and second floors are dedicated to the humans and are swathed in cool grays and whites. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This modern house is designed to support a dog’s health needs," 11 July 2018 Models were swathed in yards of fabric, and yet everything felt airy and light. Rhonda Richford, The Hollywood Reporter, "Valentino's Magical Couture Week Closer Leaves Tracee Ellis Ross in Tears," 5 July 2018 Though the participants are swathed in traditional white ball gowns adorned with spun sugar-like tulle or ruched silk rosettes, the hunt for a suitable husband is no longer the point of debutante balls. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "A bumper crop of 27 debutantes make SF debut," 25 June 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for swathe


Middle English, from Old English *swæth; akin to Old English swathian to swathe


Middle English, from Old English swathian

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Statistics for swathe

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swathe

The first known use of swathe was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of swathe

: to wrap or cover (someone or something)

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full of whispering sounds

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