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

Example Sentences

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
Hair was blown out to epic proportions, harkening back to iconic 90s Chanel shows, and makeup was sun-kissed and minimal, as the Hollywood starlet only needs a swipe of blush and some sunscreen. Kevin Leblanc, ELLE, 11 May 2023 Heyward then built the third dance from pure romance to a fiery frenzy — the fluid guidance of his fingertips suddenly sharpening into mechanistic chops and swipes. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 5 May 2023 For instance, on traditional flat surfaces such as a desk, SAWSense could recognize trackpad-style gestures such as taps and swipes. IEEE Spectrum, 1 May 2023 Crunchy pickled daikon and carrots nestle within swipes of housemade chile barbecue sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise. Louisa Chu, Chicago Tribune, 1 May 2023 Both of Florida’s Republican senators, in implicit swipes at Mr. DeSantis, have complained about the lack of fuel. Nicholas Nehamas, New York Times, 21 Apr. 2023 Each vending machine shells out jars of flan, tiramisu and quatro leches cake with the swipe of a credit card. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 12 Apr. 2023 The survey echoes previous findings that a shocking 80% of major private employers in the U.S. track productivity, as the New York Times reported last year, from tracking keyboard swipes to active time online. Jane Thier, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2023 At first swipe, the blush goes on highly pigmented, but immediately melts into skin once tapped in with fingers for a velvety finish. Karli Bendlin, Peoplemag, 16 Mar. 2023
Biyombo swiped down on Davis, who was driving to the basket, and was called for the foul, but their knees collided. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 9 Apr. 2023 In an April 2019 trial, experts from China testified that the statue whose thumb Rohana allegedly swiped dated back to the 3rd century B.C. — one of thousands of life-size clay soldiers that the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang, commissioned to be buried with him after his death. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2023 The Orioles swiped five bags against the Red Sox Thursday afternoon on Opening Day at Fenway Park. Julian Mcwilliams, BostonGlobe.com, 1 Apr. 2023 Omier made two free throws with a minute left, swiped the ball from Carr at the other end, and Miller and Co. finished it off. Dave Skretta, ajc, 27 Mar. 2023 Omier made his free throws with a minute left, swiped the ball from Carr, and Miller and Co. finished it off with free throws. Dave Skretta, Chicago Tribune, 26 Mar. 2023 But the city that once swiped Baltimore’s NFL team in the middle of the night is now the team best situated to steal its superstar quarterback and 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player. Brian Wacker, Baltimore Sun, 16 Mar. 2023 Just swipe a soaked cotton ball across each nail and let the liquid absorb for 20 to 30 seconds before wiping it away, taking every trace of color with it. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, 16 Mar. 2023 The entrepreneur swiped his personal card for both transactions. Saritha Rai, Fortune, 30 Mar. 2023 See More

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 3 Jun. 2023.

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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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