sweep

verb
\ ˈswēp How to pronounce sweep (audio) \
swept\ ˈswept How to pronounce swept (audio) \; sweeping

Definition of sweep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to remove from a surface with or as if with a broom or brush swept the crumbs from the table
b : to destroy completely : wipe out usually used with away everything she cherished, might be swept away overnight— Louis Bromfield
c : to remove or take with a single continuous forceful action swept the books off the desk
d : to remove from sight or consideration the problem can't be swept under the rug
e : to drive or carry along with irresistible force a wave of protest that swept the opposition into office
2a : to clean with or as if with a broom or brush
b : to clear by repeated and forcible action
c : to move across or along swiftly, violently, or overwhelmingly fire swept the business districtAmer. Guide Series: Md.
d : to win an overwhelming victory in or on sweep the elections
e : to win all the games or contests of sweep a double-header sweep a series
3 : to touch in passing with a swift continuous movement
4 : to trace or describe the locus or extent of (something, such as a line, circle, or angle)
5 : to cover the entire range of his eyes swept the horizon

intransitive verb

1a : to clean a surface with or as if with a broom
b : to move swiftly, forcefully, or devastatingly the wind swept through the treetops
2 : to go with stately or sweeping movements proudly swept into the room
3 : to move or extend in a wide curve or range
sweep one off one's feet
: to gain immediate and unquestioning support, approval, or acceptance by a person
sweep the board or sweep the table
1 : to win all the bets on the table
2 : to win everything : beat all competitors

sweep

noun

Definition of sweep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that sweeps or works with a sweeping motion: such as
a : a long pole or timber pivoted on a tall post and used to raise and lower a bucket in a well
b : a triangular cultivator blade that cuts off weeds under the soil surface
c : a windmill sail
2a : an instance of sweeping especially : a clearing out or away with or as if with a broom
b : the removal from the table in one play in casino of all the cards by pairing or combining
c : an overwhelming victory
d : a winning of all the contests or prizes in a competition
e : a wide-ranging search of an area (as by police)
3a : a movement of great range and force
b : a curving or circular course or line
c : the compass of a sweeping movement : scope
d : a broad unbroken area or extent a sweep of wildflowers
e : an end run in football in which one or more linemen pull back and run interference for the ballcarrier
6 : obliquity with respect to a reference line sweep of an airplane wing especially : sweepback
7 sweeps plural : a television ratings period during which surveys are taken to determine advertising rates

Illustration of sweep

Illustration of sweep

Noun

sweep 1a

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for sweep

Synonyms: Verb

bowl, breeze, brush, coast, cruise, drift, flow, glide, roll, sail, skim, slide, slip, stream, whisk

Synonyms: Noun

ambit, amplitude, breadth, compass, confines, dimension(s), extent, range, reach, realm, scope, width

Antonyms: Verb

flounder, struggle

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Choose the Right Synonym for sweep

Noun

range, gamut, compass, sweep, scope, orbit mean the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control). range is a general term indicating the extent of one's perception or the extent of powers, capacities, or possibilities. the entire range of human experience gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another. a performance that ran the gamut of emotions compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity. your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity. the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible. as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened orbit suggests an often circumscribed range of activity or influence within which forces work toward accommodation. within that restricted orbit they tried to effect social change

Examples of sweep in a Sentence

Verb

He swept the dirt off the driveway. He swept the crumbs from the table. I need to sweep the kitchen. Are you finished sweeping the porch? A storm swept across the plains. Fires swept through the forest. She proudly swept into the room. The limo swept up to the door. He swept the curtains aside. She swept the books off the desk.

Noun

Mrs. Griswold has been a teacher for so long that the sweep of her influence extends across three generations of the townspeople.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The furthest Marc Gasol had ever advanced in the playoffs was the 2013 West finals, when his Grizzlies were swept unceremoniously. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "What the Gift of Kawhi Has Given the Raptors," 13 June 2019 The Lightning were the consensus pick to win this year's Stanley Cup before they were swept out of the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jenna Ortiz, azcentral, "What the Arizona Coyotes' 2020 Stanley Cup odds look like," 13 June 2019 Recovery teams continue to search for 24-year-old Catalino Hernandez, who was swept under a current Sunday evening while swimming with his cousin in the Chuckery Area of the park. Robin Goist, cleveland.com, "Kayakers find another man’s body while looking for missing swimmer in Cuyahoga River in Akron," 4 June 2019 With 10 minutes left in the game, the Bruins had the puck behind Luongo before it was swept off the goal line by a defender. Jimmy Golen, The Seattle Times, "Panthers beat Bruins 4-1, snap Boston’s 12-game home streak," 30 Mar. 2019 They were all swept along by the children, his own children coming along, tumbling out soon, easily. Leila Aboulela, Harper's magazine, "Whisky Lullaby," 10 Jan. 2019 The same pearly shade that was swept all over her lids was also placed on the center of her lower lids, and soft brown liner was drawn on either side to create the diamond-free blingy effect. Allure, "The Most Exciting Hair and Makeup Looks on the 2018 Emmy Awards Red Carpet," 17 Sep. 2018 Using a water flosser is like hosing down a deck while traditional flossing is like sweeping it, Vera Tang, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry at the NYU College of Dentistry, tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "What Is a Water Flosser and Should You Be Using One?," 26 Feb. 2019 The weather service said current conditions could create currents than can sweep swimmers and surfers into rip currents or piers and jetties. CBS News, "Tropical Storm Chris expected to strengthen to hurricane off East Coast," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The room for error Golden State enjoyed in the 2018 NBA Finals—a clean sweep of the Cavaliers—was cut down by the matchup alone. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "The Hobbled Warriors Just Didn't Have Enough," 14 June 2019 The anti-corruption sweep comes amid a people’s revolt. Washington Post, "Algeria jails second ex-prime minister in corruption sweep," 13 June 2019 The anti-corruption sweep comes amid a people's revolt. Fox News, "Algeria jails second ex-prime minister in corruption sweep," 13 June 2019 Allen hit a three-run, walk-off home run, giving the Sox a 5-4 win and a sweep of the doubleheader, temporarily putting them in first place. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "3 things to watch for in the White Sox-Yankees series, including Eloy Jimenez channeling his inner Dick Allen and Lucas Giolito eyeing win No. 10," 13 June 2019 But advocates were disappointed that their effort to return some or all of the second year of those sweeps, failed. Jan Ellen Spiegel, courant.com, "Environmental measures win quiet, but major, victories," 7 June 2019 Mississippi State’s sweep of the NCAA men’s javelin makes history. oregonlive.com, "Ducks reach for trophy as men’s action concludes today at the NCAA Championships: Oregon track & field rundown," 7 June 2019 UP NEXT Athletics: Oakland goes for the four-game sweep Sunday, with Mike Fiers (3-3) on the mound. Noah Trister, The Seattle Times, "A’s make it 15 straight over Tigers with 4-1 victory," 18 May 2019 Four days after the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the Toronto Raptors’ playoff run with a four-game sweep, Casey was fired. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons Dwane Casey: Coaching honor 'awkward' after firing," 26 June 2018

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sweep

Verb

Middle English swepen; akin to Old English swāpan to sweep, Old High German sweifen to wander

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Statistics for sweep

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sweep

The first known use of sweep was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sweep

sweep

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sweep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to remove (something, such as dust or dirt) from a surface with a broom or brush or with a quick movement of your hand, fingers, etc.
: to remove dust, dirt, etc., from (something) with a broom or brush
: to move or pass quickly, forcefully, or smoothly

sweep

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sweep (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of cleaning an area with a broom or brush
: a long, smooth movement often in a wide curve
: a large area of land often forming a wide curve

sweep

verb
\ ˈswēp How to pronounce sweep (audio) \
swept\ ˈswept \; sweeping

Kids Definition of sweep

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to remove with a broom or brush Please sweep up the dirt.
2 : to clean by removing loose dirt or small trash with a broom or brush I need to sweep the floor.
3 : to move over or across swiftly often with force or destruction Fire swept the village.
4 : to move or gather as if with a broom or brush I swept the money from the table.
5 : to move the eyes or an instrument through a wide curve They swept the hill for some sign of the enemy.
6 : to touch a surface of quickly The musician's fingers swept the piano keys.
7 : to drive along with steady force Debris was swept away by the tide.
8 : to become suddenly very popular throughout It's a show that is sweeping the nation.
9 : to achieve a complete or easy victory

Other Words from sweep

sweeper noun

sweep

noun

Kids Definition of sweep (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a curving movement, course, or line I brushed it away with a sweep of my hand.
2 : an act or instance of cleaning with a broom or brush
3 : a wide stretch or curve of land
4 : something that sweeps or works with a sweeping motion
5 : a complete or easy victory
6 : range entry 1 sense 2, scope The island was outside the sweep of our vision.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sweep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sweep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweep

Spanish Central: Translation of sweep

Nglish: Translation of sweep for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sweep for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sweep

Comments on sweep

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