sweep·​ing | \ ˈswē-piŋ How to pronounce sweeping (audio) \

Definition of sweeping

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of one that sweeps gave the room a good sweeping
2 sweepings plural : things collected by sweeping : refuse



Definition of sweeping (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : moving or extending in a wide curve or over a wide area
b : having a curving line or form
2a : extensive sweeping reforms
b : marked by wholesale and indiscriminate inclusion sweeping generalities

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Other Words from sweeping


sweepingly adverb
sweepingness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sweeping

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of sweeping in a Sentence

Noun The porch needs a good sweeping. Adjective a sweeping view of the valley He dismissed the idea with a sweeping motion of his arm.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With the deadly coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the U.S., and with restrictions on travel and commerce, the phone lines of Arizona’s 11 members of Congress are ringing off the hook. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "'Lives are at stake': Arizona's congressional caseworkers easing anxiety during coronavirus pandemic," 30 Mar. 2020 San Francisco parking: Meters will be enforced; commuter tow-away zones, residential parking and Monday-Friday street sweeping will not be enforced. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Veterans Day 2019: What’s closed and how transit will be affected," 10 Nov. 2019 Residential permits, commuter tow-away zones, Monday-Friday daytime sweeping, general parking time limits and unmetered yellow, white and green zones will not be not enforced. SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area transit schedules for Labor Day 2019," 1 Sep. 2019 The novel seems to approach the sweeping, multigenerational sagas of Zink’s pen pal Franzen. Madeleine Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Nell Zink’s Satire Raises the Stakes," 26 Aug. 2019 Separately, Xi and Macron issued a sweeping, 37-point joint statement that seemed like another rebuke to Trump. Sylvie Corbet, The Seattle Times, "China’s Xi, European leaders form trade policy partnership," 26 Mar. 2019 The July 30 vote was peaceful but scenes of the military sweeping into the capital two days later to disperse opposition protesters led to fears that Mnangagwa's government was stuck in the past despite declarations of reforms. Fox News, "The Latest: Zimbabwe court upholds president's election win," 24 Aug. 2018 The final goal came from Belgium’s final attack of the game, a sweeping, length-of-the-field surge that ended up with Nacer Chadli tapping into the Japan net. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "Belgium Rallies From Two-Goal Deficit to Stun Japan in the World Cup," 2 July 2018 Amid a litany of promises ranging from the hyper specific to the sweeping, NBC News has zeroed in on and evaluated 10. NBC News, "One Year Later, What Trump’s Delivered – and What He Hasn’t," 8 Nov. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill passed by Congress. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 2 July 2020 The Ohio Senate on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 3, the sweeping criminal-sentencing reform bill that would reclassify most drug possession felonies as misdemeanors. cleveland, "Ohio enters swing state territory again as the national map expands: Capitol Letter," 1 July 2020 Last week in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minnesota, Gov. Jared Polis signed a sweeping police accountability bill which bars the use of chokeholds and carotid holds. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "More than 2 million sign 'Justice For Elijah McClain' petition nearly a year after his death," 24 June 2020 Earlier this week, House and Senate Democrats introduced a sweeping police reform bill that would create a national reporting database and place a ban on police use of the chokehold maneuver. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'Didn’t deserve to die over $20': George Floyd's brother demands change in testimony before Congress," 10 June 2020 China has made sweeping claims of sovereignty over the sea – and its massive untapped oil and natural gas. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Trump administration rejects nearly all Beijing's claims in South China Sea, a move likely to inflame tensions," 14 July 2020 Take comfort: Our list of the best books of 2020 includes addictive literary fiction, sweeping romance novels, chilling thrillers, humor, tell-alls, memoirs, biographies, feminist manifestos, and books about dogs. Glamour, "What to Read Next: The Best Books of 2020," 13 July 2020 TikTok withdrew from the Hong Kong market this week after Beijing enacted a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong under which authorities can demand tech firms provide user data and remove content. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, "How TikTok became a geopolitical flashpoint," 10 July 2020 Concerns about censorship are growing in Hong Kong, after schools were ordered to remove books and teaching materials that could violate the sweeping national security law imposed by China. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "5 things to know for July 7: Coronavirus, election, Supreme Court, Hong Kong, police," 7 July 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for sweeping

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sweeping

Cite this Entry

“Sweeping.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweeping. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sweeping


How to pronounce sweeping (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sweeping

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an act of cleaning an area with a broom or brush



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

: including or involving many things : wide in range or amount
disapproving : too general : including or involving too many things or people
: having a curving form : forming a curve


sweep·​ing | \ ˈswē-piŋ \

Kids Definition of sweeping

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : moving or extending in a wide curve or over a wide area a sweeping driveway Jason dodged the sweeping blade.— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat
2 : extensive sweeping changes



Kids Definition of sweeping (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of cleaning an area with a broom or brush
2 sweepings plural : things collected by sweeping

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