\ ˈswīp How to pronounce swipe (audio) \
plural swipes

Definition of swipe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
b : 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 swipe— David Price
2 : 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


swiped; swiping; swipes

Definition of swipe (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : 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
2 : 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

1 : 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
2 : 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)
3 : 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
4 : 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Consumers can purchase almost anything, or send money to friends and family, with only a phone swipe. J. J. Mccorvey, WSJ, 9 Oct. 2021 In 2010 Congress put caps on debit card swipe fees, cutting them 45%. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 Or was Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh’s show just another swipe at the pandemic? Thomas Adamson, USA TODAY, 29 Sep. 2021 Or was Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh’s show just another swipe at the pandemic? Time, 29 Sep. 2021 Or was Rushemy Botter's and Lisi Herrebrugh’s show just another swipe at the pandemic? Thomas Adamson, ajc, 28 Sep. 2021 Each card was used to access that area multiple times, with the first swipe just before 11 a.m. and the last at 8:38 p.m., the logs show. Emma Brown, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Sep. 2021 Contrast the elegance of the entente between Washington and Paris with Wednesday's boorish swipe by UK PM Boris Johnson, who lapsed into Franglais to mock French feelings. Stephen Collinson And Melissa Bell, CNN, 23 Sep. 2021 Contreras’ tried a swipe tag but Reyes got around him to avoid being tagged, popping up with excitement over his play. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Freshman Sydney Tildsley was the hero, tossing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Mavrick Bourdreau as time ran out to swipe a narrow Commonwealth victory for the visiting Rams (2-1) in Haverhill. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2021 All transactions are cashless, as vendors will use handheld devices to swipe credit cards. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Sep. 2021 On Macs, the Control Center is in the menu bar (the toggle icon), and on the Apple Watch just swipe up from the bottom. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, 28 Sep. 2021 Carrollton police are asking for the public’s help identifying a person who tried — with unexpectedly poor results — to swipe a big-screen TV from a business over the weekend. Hojun Choi, Dallas News, 24 Aug. 2021 On Android phones, swipe down from the top of the screen to access your notification shade and tap the Do Not Disturb icon. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 27 June 2021 No need to swipe the same alert away on two different devices. Ewan Spence, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Part of that arrangement came with strings attached, and its fruitfulness has already run out, as Canadians travel south to swipe up unused doses and Mexico again pleads for another loan. Christian Paz, The Atlantic, 13 May 2021 For overall cleanliness, a disinfectant wipe can swipe germs from such high-touch areas as the remote control, door handles and light switches. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021

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


1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1825, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for swipe


probably alteration of sweep

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Dictionary Entries Near swipe



swipe card

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Statistics for swipe

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Swipe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swipe. Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for swipe



English Language Learners Definition of swipe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a criticism or insult that is directed toward a particular person or group
: a swinging movement of a person's hand, an animal's paw, etc., that is done in an attempt to hit something



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

: to reach toward and try to hit (something) with a swinging motion
: to steal (something)
: to pass (a credit card, ATM card, etc.) through a machine that reads information from it


\ ˈswīp How to pronounce swipe (audio) \

Kids Definition of swipe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong sweeping movement He took a swipe at the ball.


swiped; swiping

Kids Definition of swipe (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : steal entry 1 sense 1 No, she wouldn't swipe Christmas greens from a graveyard …— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder
2 : to make a strong sweeping movement The cat swiped at the dog.

More from Merriam-Webster on swipe

Nglish: Translation of swipe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swipe for Arabic Speakers


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