sweep

verb
\ ˈswēp \
swept\ ˈswept \; 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 strength of these divides led to some consequential results, like Republicans’ sweeping victory in the Missouri Senate election or Democrats flipping every House seat in California’s traditionally Republican Orange County. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Giving Obsidian and InXile the funding to make sweeping open-world RPGs though? Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Microsoft acquires CRPG heavyweights Obsidian and InXile," 10 Nov. 2018 Ethiopia has faced sweeping political and economic reforms since the 42-year-old prime minister took office in April after months of anti-government protests and made pledges that include free and fair elections. Elias Meseret, The Seattle Times, "Ethiopia’s new Cabinet 50 percent women, including defense," 16 Oct. 2018 In 2016, the Obama White House announced a sweeping plan to expand the number of charging stations in the US. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Electric cars still face a big hurdle: the charging system," 3 Oct. 2018 While the message and advice in Knowing Your Value was as relevant as ever, the first edition didn’t cover any of those sweeping personal and cultural changes. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Mika Brzezinski Isn't Afraid to Say What You're Thinking," 24 Sep. 2018 When paired with like-minded groups like you, your voice and your forward-thinking ideas can influence and move the collective mind in sweeping motions. Ashley Otero, Teen Vogue, "Who You Should Date, Based on Your Horoscope," 20 Aug. 2018 The outback climb takes you through many microclimates, sweeping vistas, giant redwoods, and quiet country roads. Annie Daly, SELF, "12 Beautiful Biking Destinations You’ll Want to Add to Your Bucket List," 18 July 2018 Be prepared to be at a loss for words when entering their majestic open-air home featuring a sweeping infinite pool, crystals as large as your limbs, and a breathtaking panoramic view of Nosara. Kara Ladd, Harper's BAZAAR, "Just Back From...Nosara, Costa Rica," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The singer took a thick, arched rimming of black kohl to the extreme, fanning it out toward the brow in an angular sweep, as well as along the inner corners of the eye. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Dua Lipa Proves Why an Extreme Cat Eye Is an Instant Look Changer," 11 Nov. 2018 Aaron Turner, president of the mobile security consultancy Integricell, was among the experts who conducted the 2014 sweeps, in part to try to drum up business. Fox News, "Homeland Security finds suspected phone surveillance devices in Washington," 2 Oct. 2018 The defense bill - which sets out policy priorities for the Pentagon on a wide sweep of issues - could be painful for Trump to veto. Erica Werner And Josh Dawsey, chicagotribune.com, "Senate, House GOP at odds over rare rebuke of Trump on national security," 5 July 2018 Elsewhere in the country, including Florida and New York, CBP agents have recently conducted impromptu sweeps on commercial buses, asking passengers for proof of citizenship. Gaby Del Valle, Teen Vogue, "What to Do If Border Patrol Asks You for Documentation," 3 July 2018 Britain's Jamie Murray and Switzerland's Martina Hingis took home the mixed doubles in another sweep, defeating Finland's Henri Kontinen and Britain's Heather Watson. Julia Poe, SI.com, "Who Won Wimbledon Last Year?," 1 July 2018 Ian James completed a weekend sweep in GTS, as did Mark Klenin in GTSA. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Indy cars will keep coming back to Elkhart Lake. As for Milwaukee, 'it'd be impossible.'," 24 June 2018 The Bombers earned serve back, and rattled off four consecutive points behind the service of senior Shane Kiendzior (15 kills) on the way to a 25-22, 25-18, 25-12 sweep in a state semifinal at Concord-Carlisle Regional. Josh Schafer, BostonGlobe.com, "Needham gets past Natick, advances to boys’ state volleyball final," 19 June 2018 Justify, who won Saturday’s Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown sweep, was flown from New York City to Louisville on Monday and arrived at Churchill Downs in the afternoon. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Triple Crown winner Justify returns to Churchill Downs," 11 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

14 Jan 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 \
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

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