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

Other Words from sweeping


sweepingly adverb
sweepingness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sweeping

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun City leaders also criticized how the state pension fund has invested money SANTEE — A local street sweeping monopoly has Santee officials worried. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 June 2022 Routinely Basic cleaning, like weekly sweeping of loose dirt and debris, will help maintain your deck's natural luster. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 June 2022 Procuring similar narrow street sweeping equipment is a long-term solution for the city, which currently has few options, but in the meantime advocates want the city to find a contractor who can handle regularly clearing the narrow lanes. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 13 June 2022 Has any been allocated for recycling or street sweeping, Schleifer asked. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 31 May 2022 Robert Pattinson, who was cast as Bruce Wayne way back in the pre-pandemic stone age of 2019, and finally gets to unveil his take on the stoic crimefighter in director Matt Reeves' sweeping, visually stunning The Batman. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 7 Mar. 2022 In 2007, the BMC had introduced machines for mechanical sweeping in these areas, and now claims at least 150 kilometres of Mumbai roads are cleaned mechanically. Aarefa Johari, Quartz, 25 Nov. 2021 There’s no light shift, there’s no theatrical sweeping, reality-changing moment. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 23 Sep. 2021 The drop in trash collection is compounded by a 50 percent reduction in street sweeping, which began during the pandemic suspension of alternate-side-of-the-street parking and still has not returned to its regular levels. Diana Budds, Curbed, 2 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective San Diego’s progress comes just weeks after state lawmakers approved the nation’s most sweeping law to phase out single-use plastics and packaging waste. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 July 2022 The party took issue with the VOTES Act, a sweeping election law that makes no-excuse mail-in voting permanent, expands early voting options, and implements post-election audits, among other reforms. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 11 July 2022 Newsom signed the nation’s most sweeping law to phase out single-use plastics and packaging waste. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2022 The government eventually suspended the bill to quell mass protests before Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law over the city in 2020. Kathleen Magramo, CNN, 5 July 2022 In June 2021, the department sued Georgia over its sweeping new voting law that overhauled the state’s election administration and introduced a host of restrictions to voting in the state, especially voting by mail. New York Times, 5 July 2022 Beijing has since pushed through a sweeping security law that gives Beijing broad powers to crack down on dissent in the city and critics say has eroded freedoms China promised to protect. Robert Hart, Forbes, 4 July 2022 In June 2020, China’s national legislature sought to quell that unrest by enacting a sweeping new National Security Law for Hong Kong that has been used to all but eliminate the city's pro-democracy opposition. Clay Chandler, Fortune, 30 June 2022 Winnebago County Associate Judge Stephen Balogh issued the sweeping order June 6 after holding a hearing without anyone representing the state or the craft growers. Robert Mccoppin, Chicago Tribune, 14 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of sweeping


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best shop vacs.

Learn More About sweeping

Time Traveler for sweeping

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sweeping

sweep hand


sweeping score

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sweeping

Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sweeping.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweeping. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for sweeping


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

More from Merriam-Webster on sweeping

Nglish: Translation of sweeping for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sweeping for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!