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 Virginia portions of the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva peninsula are under a tropical storm watch, with Hurricane Dorian forecast to sweep up the Southeast coast this week. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Hurricane Dorian still not forecast to have much effect on Maryland," 4 Sep. 2019 The Genius Grant- and National Book Award-winning writer’s new novel revolves around a slave with a strange, magical power that first saves his life, then inspires a journey that sweeps him up in the fight against slavery. Mary Sollosi, EW.com, "Your pop culture horoscope for September: It Chapter Two, Charli XCX, and fall TV," 3 Sep. 2019 Debbie Stevens, 47, was on her regular paper route in Fort Smith Saturday, Aug. 24 when a flash flood swept up her car. Fox News, "'Uncaring' 911 dispatcher lectures drowning woman moments before she died," 1 Sep. 2019 Chris Chugunov took over from there, sweeping up after the starters finished their opening-day party. Nathan Baird, cleveland.com, "How Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields thrilled, and stalled, against Florida Atlantic," 31 Aug. 2019 While most festivals are sweeping up after Labor Day, the Denver Food + Wine Fest will just be getting started. John Wenzel, The Know, "Love horsesand EDM? Get a little of both at this weekend’s PoloFest," 30 Aug. 2019 The Operation Freedom task force also worked with social service agencies to assist the trafficking victims who were swept up in the investigation. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "'Operation Freedom': 64 arrested in human trafficking sting in Fort Bend County during July," 16 Aug. 2019 Critics of the bill said Hong Kong residents, who enjoy freedoms and liberties not available to their neighbors in China, could be swept up in that nation's murky judicial system. NBC News, "Hong Kong protesters clash with police at airport," 13 Aug. 2019 The school system determined that about 35 students - who were attending the second day of their school year - had parents swept up in the raids. Author: Tim Craig, Scott Wilson, Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Officials stand by immigration raids that temporarily left children without parents," 9 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Rockies, who avoided a three-game sweep, open a four-game series on Thursday at St. Louis. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies beat Diamondbacks behind Tim Melville, an emergency starter," 21 Aug. 2019 Morton struck out 11 over seven innings and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided a three-game sweep by beating Price and Boston 3-2 in a game that the Red Sox protested on Wednesday. Mark Didtler, courant.com, "Rays beat Red Sox 3-2 as Boston files protest over lineup," 25 July 2019 Morton struck out 11 over seven innings and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided a three-game sweep by beating Price and Boston 3-2 in a game that the Red Sox protested on Wednesday. Mark Didtler, orlandosentinel.com, "Host Rays beat Red Sox 3-2 as Boston files protest over lineup," 24 July 2019 On June 22, Trump postponed the immigration sweep, announcing a two-week reprieve from the deportations of people living in the country illegally. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky nun on the US border crisis: 'God sees our failure to love'," 3 July 2019 Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura also connected for Milwaukee, which avoided a three-game sweep in a matchup of 2018 NL division winners. Charles Odum, The Seattle Times, "Gamel’s 10th-inning homer lifts Brewers over Braves, 3-2," 19 May 2019 Hamels allowed seven runs on nine hits in five innings in a 10-5loss to the Chicago White Sox, who avoided a three-game sweep at Globe Life Park. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Hamels knows what it's like to be traded. Why this time is different as Rangers seek suitors," 1 July 2018 The Tigers avoid a sweep with an uncharacteristic 10-1 rout of Mike Boddicker. Mike Klingaman, baltimoresun.com, "Remembering 1983: A look at the Orioles' world championship for the week of July 1-7," 1 July 2018 The Indians must win Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of Columbus. Jordan Guskey, Indianapolis Star, "Walk-off home run spoils Indianapolis Indians' comeback attempt," 30 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

9 Sep 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

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