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

They were swept out of the first round last season. Joe Reedy, The Seattle Times, "Ducks fire coach Randy Carlyle amid 7-game losing streak," 11 Feb. 2019 They were swept in a four-game series last year and a three-game series in 2016. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres notes: Hosmer's numbers; Ross quality not enough for first time," 15 June 2018 Municipal bonds are enjoying their strongest start to a year since at least 2006, defying expectations that President Trump’s sweeping tax overhaul would depress demand in the market. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Muni Bonds Enjoy Historic Run Despite Tax Overhaul," 6 Mar. 2019 Worn with romantic earrings, a black choker, fishnet tights, and catty little ankle boots, Buoso’s ensemble was one of the show’s closing looks, a spritely offering among Moralioglu’s sweeping gowns and long floral trains. Amanda Brooks, Vogue, "From Sketch to Dress: How Erdem Revived an Italian Principessa in Custom Fil Coupé," 26 Feb. 2019 In a nod to self-sweeping brooms shown in movies and on TV, the shop has recently started selling its own motorized version. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Watch These 'Magical' Brooms Glide On Their Own," 11 Oct. 2018 There were bubble dresses and bows galore, sweeping trains and gleaming ostrich-feathered embroideries. Sarah Mower, Vogue, "The Top 10 Shows of London Fashion Week Fall 2019," 20 Feb. 2019 But no one in Congress is seriously proposing something that sweeping. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 14 Feb. 2019 The self-help book written by Dr. Gary Chapman has been sweeping the nation for over 20 years. Megan Stein, Country Living, "So, What Exactly Are the '5 Love Languages'?," 13 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On Thursday, the Yankees finished a three-game sweep of Seattle with a 4-3 win that gave them a 50-22 record, good for a two-game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, and kept them on pace for 112 wins this season. Wallace Matthews, New York Times, "Yankees Sweep the Mariners With a Pair of Homers and a Couple of Breaks," 21 June 2018 SportsPulse: The Warriors enter the pantheon of all-time NBA teams after finishing a sweep of the Cavaliers for their third championship in four years. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "LeBron James injured hand punching white board following Game 1 loss," 9 June 2018 The Yard Goats were held to one hit Thursday in a 12-2 loss to the Harrisburg Senators , finishing a three-game sweep at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford. Staff Report, courant.com, "Ward Drives In 6 Runs, Leads Senators Past Goats," 31 May 2018 The Toronto Marlies finished a 4-0 sweep of Syracuse on Tuesday night and moved into the Eastern Conference finals. Steve Lyttle, charlotteobserver, "Phantoms’ offense appears – and Checkers pay price in AHL playoff loss | Charlotte Observer," 8 May 2018 San Jose will aim to finish off a sweep on Wednesday. Michael Blinn, SI.com, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Avalanche Use Quick Start to Topple Predators in Game 3 Win," 17 Apr. 2018 South Alabama pounded out 19 hits on the way to an 11-3 victory over Georgia Southern on Sunday, finishing off a three-game Sun Belt Conference sweep at Stanky Field. Creg Stephenson, AL.com, "South Alabama baseball finishes off 3-game sweep of Georgia Southern," 15 Apr. 2018 Jackson Kowar helped finish the sweep with two earned runs in seven innings Saturday, although his offense didn’t help him much. Ethan Bauer, miamiherald, "The Florida Gators coach wants his men’s team to get mad as it prepares for the Tourney | Miami Herald," 14 Mar. 2018 Princeton beat Sycamore by 26 back in early December, but needed a 27-point fourth quarter to finish the sweep of the Aviators on Feb. 10 after trailing by a point going into the final stanza. Shelby Dermer, Cincinnati.com, "What to watch: Ohio high school boys basketball district semifinals preview," 1 Mar. 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

25 Mar 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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