1 of 2


plural swipes
: a strong sweeping blow
a swipe of a paw
… he took a swipe at the ball before it stopped moving, a two stroke penalty.Ken Fidlin
: a sliding gesture (as across the touch screen of a mobile device)
In this day and age, with information available at the push of a button or a swipe, Avdeev's situation is remarkable and rare.Christopher Miller
Vividly colored orbs appear from time to time, sometimes slowly, often in a mad rush, and seemingly at random. You can move them around with a finger swipeDavid Price
: a sharp often critical remark
took a parting swipe at management
Below the picture, the text took a swipe at Perdue's claims …Thomas Whiteside


2 of 2


swiped; swiping; swipes

intransitive verb

: to strike or move with a sweeping motion
Among carnivores like the great cats, wolves and hyenas, cubs pretend to capture prey: stalking, pouncing, biting, swiping at objects with claws extended.Natalie Angier
: to operate something (such as a function on a mobile device) by sliding one's finger while pressing against a touch screen
On the plus side, it does come with extra large icons on the home screen, and a button bar that you swipe up from the bottom for easy access to video tutorials, troubleshooting tools and 24/7 phone support.Jennifer Jolly

transitive verb

: to strike or wipe (something or someone) with a sweeping motion
Pallone mimicked Rose's gestures in rebuttal—and, perhaps inadvertently, swiped Rose on the cheek near his left eye.Steve Wulf
One model boasted a small rectangular "rest" that kept the head from touching the counter when it was laid down and also sported a useful notch for swiping the rim of a jar or bowl.Lisa McManus
: to activate or control (something) with a swiping gesture
Tinder allows users to swipe their phone screen to the right when they see a picture of someone they like. …The Mercury (South Africa)
: steal, pilfer
In a jailhouse interview in Russia, a former uranium worker explains why he swiped nuclear material to sell: He needed money for a new fridge and stove.David Corn
: to slide (a card with a magnetic strip or bar code) through a slot in a reading device so that information contained in the strip or code can be processed (as in making a purchase)
Instead of swiping your credit card, or inserting its chip to complete the payment process, contactless technology lets you make a purchase by placing or hovering your card or phone near a payment terminal, a.k.a. the credit card machine.Geoffrey Morrison

Examples of swipe in a Sentence

Noun She took a swipe at her former company in her latest column. a swipe of the cat's paw Verb The cat swiped the dog across the nose. They swiped some candy from the store. The cashier swiped the credit card and gave it back to me.
Recent Examples on the Web
Just a few swipes and my lashes are transformed with a softer, more natural look than black mascara provides for my skin tone. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 30 Mar. 2024 The settlement opens doors for retailers to place surcharges on cards with higher swipe fees, which could make using a premium card with a hefty rewards program more expensive. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 30 Mar. 2024 Once the tinting is complete, excess pigment is removed with the help of a Q-tip and a swipe of damp cotton. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 28 Mar. 2024 The settlement is set to lower swipe fees merchants pay when customers make purchases using their Visa or Mastercard by $30 billion over five years, according to a press release announcing the settlement Tuesday morning. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 27 Mar. 2024 For much of the last decade, luxury e-commerce was heralded as the smart way to shop, offering hyped brands, exclusive products, free returns and 90-minute delivery services at the swipe of a button. Elizabeth Paton, New York Times, 27 Mar. 2024 Police recommend tugging on a credit card swipe before inserting your card. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 27 Mar. 2024 There are swipes at the way society’s underdogs and outcasts are treated by those who rule, how religious and cultural differences get politicized and then weaponized in the name of power and profit, and how a caste system continues to warp the humanity of all involved. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 12 Mar. 2024 By paying, users can unlock features like unlimited swipes and the ability to see who has swiped on them. J. Edward Moreno, New York Times, 12 Mar. 2024
For Samsung phones, swipe down on the shutter button. William Neff, Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2024 On Android, swipe down from the top of your screen to bring up your notifications and settings screen. Boone Ashworth, WIRED, 12 Mar. 2024 Simply swipe on the balm, then follow a stroke (or three!) of the buildable color. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 8 Mar. 2024 Curry stayed in front of James and swiped a steal, clinching the tight win. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 17 Mar. 2024 TikTok did send an in-app notification asking users to call their representatives, but users could click the X on the notification to dismiss it or swipe it away and continue to use the app. Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2024 The Cincinnati Bengals were driving toward a potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds of the 2022 championship game at Sofi Stadium when Donald swiped past a guard and eluded the center and put both giant hands on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Some retailers think their customers will jump at the first chance to swipe stuff, and some don’t. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 14 Mar. 2024 If not a victim themselves of a theft, or thefts, many people seem to know someone whose car was swiped, and just about everyone can instantly recall one of the car theft headlines that news outlets have had plenty of opportunity to publish. Vjosa Isai, New York Times, 24 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swipe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably alteration of sweep

First Known Use


1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1825, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of swipe was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near swipe

Cite this Entry

“Swipe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swipe. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
swiped; swiping
: to strike or wipe with a sweeping motion
: pilfer
: to slide (a card with a magnetic strip or bar code) through a slot in a reading device so that information stored on the strip can be processed (as in making a purchase)


2 of 2 noun
: a strong sweeping blow

More from Merriam-Webster on swipe

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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