\ 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

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 If astronomers are right, a ghostly particle that lit up an instrumented swathe of ice beneath the South Pole on 22 September last year was a messenger from a distant galaxy. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Ghostly particle caught in polar ice ushers in new way to look at the universe," 12 July 2018 Xiaomi’s high-profile stumble may have a chilling effect on a swathe of Chinese tech corporations keen on raising capital this year to fuel their ambitions, from Meituan Dianping in Hong Kong to Tencent Music in the U.S. Ian Mount, Fortune, "Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi’s Monster IPO Flops on Its First Day of Trading," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Their faces were smeared with dirt, their tunics stiff with mud, their heads swathed in rags. Mary Horlock, Longreads, "The Camouflage Artist: Two Worlds Wars, Two Loves, and One Great Deception," 21 June 2018 The Best Movie of the Summer, Book Club, is an Eileen Fisher–swathed rom-com about a quartet of septuagenarian pals who read Fifty Shades of Grey in their book club. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Book Club Is Basically a Nancy Meyers Movie," 18 May 2018 At her Lake Forest, Illinois, home, designer Megan Winters swathed the walls of a bedroom for her niece in a zebra-print wallpaper by Brunschwig & Fils. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "18 Creative And Chic Kids' Room Decorating Ideas," 6 July 2017

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

2 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on swathe

What made you want to look up swathe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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