sweep

2 of 2

noun

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun sweep differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of sweep are compass, gamut, orbit, range, and scope. While all these words mean "the extent that lies within the powers of something (as to cover or control)," sweep suggests extent, often circular or arc-shaped, of motion or activity.

the book covers the entire sweep of criminal activity

When is compass a more appropriate choice than sweep?

In some situations, the words compass and sweep are roughly equivalent. However, compass implies a sometimes limited extent of perception, knowledge, or activity.

your concerns lie beyond the narrow compass of this study

When could gamut be used to replace sweep?

While in some cases nearly identical to sweep, gamut suggests a graduated series running from one possible extreme to another.

a performance that ran the gamut of emotions

In what contexts can orbit take the place of sweep?

While the synonyms orbit and sweep are close in meaning, 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

When might range be a better fit than sweep?

The words range and sweep can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When can scope be used instead of sweep?

The words scope and sweep are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, scope is applicable to an area of activity, predetermined and limited, but somewhat flexible.

as time went on, the scope of the investigation widened

Thesaurus Entries Near sweep

Cite this Entry

“Sweep.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/sweep. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

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