Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To clean or clear, as of dirt, with or as if with a broom or brush: sweep a chimney.
  • transitive v. To clear away with or as if with a broom or brush: swept snow from the steps.
  • transitive v. To clear (a path or space) with or as if with a broom.
  • transitive v. To search thoroughly: The counselors swept the dormitory during the fire drill.
  • transitive v. Electronics To search for and remove (eavesdropping devices) from a place: swept the room for bugs.
  • transitive v. To touch or brush lightly, as with a trailing garment: willow branches sweeping the ground.
  • transitive v. To pass over or through a surface or medium with a continuous movement: He swept the sponge over the tile. The conductor swept her baton through the air.
  • transitive v. To clear, drive, or convey with relentless force: The flood waters swept away everything in their path.
  • transitive v. To wipe out at a single stroke. Often used with away: The incident in effect swept away all her dreams.
  • transitive v. To remove or carry off with a swift brushing motion: swept the cards off the table; swept the child into his arms.
  • transitive v. To move across or through swiftly or with great intensity: News of the lunar landing swept the country.
  • transitive v. To pass quickly across, as when searching: His gaze swept the horizon.
  • transitive v. To drag the bottom of (a body of water).
  • transitive v. To win all games in (a series) or stages of (a contest): swept the World Series.
  • transitive v. To win overwhelmingly in: The opposition party swept the election.
  • intransitive v. To clean or clear a surface with or as if with a broom or brush.
  • intransitive v. Electronics To search for and remove eavesdropping devices.
  • intransitive v. To move swiftly with strong, steady force: The wind swept over the plain.
  • intransitive v. To move swiftly in a lofty manner, as if in a trailing robe: She swept by in silence.
  • intransitive v. To trail, as a long garment.
  • intransitive v. To extend gracefully, especially in a long curve: The hills sweep down to the sea.
  • intransitive v. To extend in a wide range: Searchlights swept across the sky.
  • n. A clearing out or removal with or as if with a broom or brush.
  • n. Electronics The act or an instance of searching for and removing eavesdropping devices, as in a room.
  • n. A wide curving motion: a sweep of the arm.
  • n. The range or scope encompassed by sweeping: the sweep of a lantern beam. See Synonyms at range.
  • n. A broad reach or extent: a sweep of green lawn.
  • n. A curve or contour: the sweep of her hair.
  • n. Football An end run in which one or more linemen leave the line of scrimmage and block in advance of the ball carrier.
  • n. One who sweeps, especially a chimney sweep.
  • n. Sweepings. Often used in the plural.
  • n. The winning of all stages of a game or contest.
  • n. An overwhelming victory or success.
  • n. Nautical A long oar used to propel a boat.
  • n. A long pole attached to a pivot and used to raise or lower a bucket in a well.
  • n. Informal Sweepstakes.
  • n. The period each fall, winter, and spring when television ratings are accrued and studied and advertising rates are reset.
  • n. The national survey of local stations that is conducted to determine these ratings.
  • n. Electronics The steady motion of an electron beam across a cathode-ray tube.
  • idiom sweep (one) off (one's) feet To cause an immediate and strongly positive response in (a person); impress deeply.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To clean (a surface) by means of a stroking motion of a broom or brush.
  • v. To move through an (horizontal) arc or similar long stroke.
  • v. To search (a place) methodically.
  • v. To travel quickly.
  • v. To play a sweep shot.
  • v. To brush the ice in front of a moving stone, causing it to travel farther and to curl less.
  • v. To move something in a particular motion, as a broom
  • v. To win (a series) without drawing or losing any of the games in that series.
  • v. To defeat (a team) in a series without drawing or losing any of the games in that series.
  • n. The person who steers a dragon boat.
  • n. A person who stands at the stern of a surf boat, steering with a steering oar and commanding the crew.
  • n. A chimney sweep.
  • n. A batsman's shot, played from a kneeling position with a swinging horizontal bat.
  • n. A lottery, usually on the results of a sporting event, where players win if their randomly chosen team wins.
  • n. A flow of water parallel to shore caused by wave action at an ocean beach or at a point or headland.
  • n. A single action of sweeping.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of sweeping.
  • n. The compass or range of a stroke.
  • n. The compass of any turning body or of any motion.
  • n. The compass of anything flowing or brushing.
  • n. Violent and general destruction.
  • n. Direction and extent of any motion not rectlinear.
  • n. Direction or departure of a curve, a road, an arch, or the like, away from a rectlinear line.
  • n. One who sweeps; a sweeper; specifically, a chimney sweeper.
  • n. A movable templet for making molds, in loam molding.
  • n.
  • n. The mold of a ship when she begins to curve in at the rungheads; any part of a ship shaped in a segment of a circle.
  • n. A large oar used in small vessels, partly to propel them and partly to steer them.
  • n. The almond furnace.
  • n. A long pole, or piece of timber, moved on a horizontal fulcrum fixed to a tall post and used to raise and lower a bucket in a well for drawing water.
  • n. In the game of casino, a pairing or combining of all the cards on the board, and so removing them all; in whist, the winning of all the tricks (thirteen) in a hand; a slam.
  • n. The sweeping of workshops where precious metals are worked, containing filings, etc.
  • intransitive v. To clean rooms, yards, etc., or to clear away dust, dirt, litter, etc., with a broom, brush, or the like.
  • intransitive v. To brush swiftly over the surface of anything; to pass with switness and force, as if brushing the surface of anything; to move in a stately manner
  • intransitive v. To pass over anything comprehensively; to range through with rapidity.
  • transitive v. To pass a broom across (a surface) so as to remove loose dirt, dust, etc.; to brush, or rub over, with a broom for the purpose of cleaning. Used also figuratively.
  • transitive v. To drive or carry along or off with a broom or a brush, or as if with a broom; to remove by, or as if by, brushing
  • transitive v. To brush against or over; to rub lightly along.
  • transitive v. To carry with a long, swinging, or dragging motion; hence, to carry in a stately or proud fashion.
  • transitive v. To strike with a long stroke.
  • transitive v. To draw or drag something over.
  • transitive v. To pass over, or traverse, with the eye or with an instrument of observation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move or pass along with a swift waving or surging movement: as, the wind sweeps along the plain; pass with overwhelming force or violence, especially over a surface: as, a sweeping flood.
  • To pass with pomp, as if with trailing garments: sometimes with an indefinite it.
  • To move with a long reach; move with a prolonged sliding or trailing motion: as, a sweeping stroke.
  • To pass systematically over a surface in search of something; especially, to move the line of vision in such a way as to search every part of a given angular area: a modification of the transitive use II., 5.
  • To pass over a surface with a broom or besom; clean up: as, a servant engaged to sweep and scrub.
  • To swing or slat the flukes from side to side, as a whale when wounded or attacked.
  • To move, drive, or carry forward or away by overwhelming force or violence; remove or gather up by a long brushing stroke: literally or figuratively: as, the wind sweeps the snow from the tops of the hills; a flood sweeps away a bridge or a house.
  • To carry with a long swinging or dragging movement; trail pompously.
  • To strike with a long sweeping stroke; brush or traverse quickly with the fingers; pass with a brushing motion, as the fingers; hence, to produce, as musical sounds, by such a motion or stroke.
  • To move over or along: as, the wind swept the surface of the sea.
  • To direct the eye over in a comprehensive glance; view with the eye or an optical instrument in a rapid and general survey: as, to sweep the heavens with a telescope.
  • To brush over, as with a broom or besom, for removing loose dirt; make clean by brushing: as, to sweep a floor or a chimney.
  • To rid as by sweeping; clear.
  • To draw or drag something over: as, to sweep the bottom of a river with a net, or with the bight of a rope to hook an anchor.
  • To propel by means of sweeps or long oars.
  • To have within range of fire; clear of enemies or a mob by a discharge of artillery or musketry, as a street or square.
  • To form (a mold which has the profile made by a surface of revolution) by causing the profile, reproduced on the edge of a board, to revolve or sweep around an axis. See sweep, n., 11.
  • n. The act of sweeping; the act of effecting something by means of a sweeping or clearing-out force; hence, wholesale change or removal.
  • n. The reach or range of a continued motion or stroke: as, the long sweep of a scythe; direction or extent of any motion not rectilinear: as, the sweep of a compass; hence, range, in general; compass.
  • n. Specifically— The compass of anything flowing or blowing: as, the flood or the storm carried away everything within its sweep.
  • n. Reach; extent; prevalence, as of a disease: as, the sweep of an epidemic.
  • n. A turn, bend, or curve.
  • n. A circular, semicircular, or curved carriage-drive in front of a house.
  • n. A rapid survey or inspection by moving the direction of vision in a systematic manner so as to search the whole of a given angular area; especially, in astronomy, the act of sweeping (see sweep, v. i., 4); hence, the immediate object of such a view; hence, again, the external object, the country, or section of the heavens viewed.
  • n. In ship-building, any are of a circle used in the body-plan to describe the form of the timbers.
  • n. Nautical, a large oar, used in small vessels sometimes to assist the rudder in turning the vessel in a calm, but usually to propel the craft. Also swape.
  • n. A metal frame on which the tiller or rudder-yoke of a ship travels.
  • n. An engine formerly used in war for throwing stones into fortresses; a ballista.
  • n. A device for drawing water from a well by means of a long pole resting on a tall upright as a fulcrum; also, one of various somewhat similar levers performing other functions, as the lever of a horse-power. Also swipe, swape.
  • n. In loam-molding, a pattern shape consisting of a board of which the edge is cut to the form of the cross-sectional outline of the article to be molded.
  • n. A form of light plow or cultivator used for working crops planted in rows, as cotton or maize; a cotton-sweep.
  • n. In card-playing: In the game of casino, a pairing or combining of all the cards on the board and so removing them all.
  • n. In whist, the winning of all the tricks in a hand.
  • n. Same as sweepstakes.
  • n. plural The sweepings of an establishment where precious metals are worked, as a goldsmith's or silversmith's shop, or a mint.
  • n. One who sweeps; a sweeper; specifically, a chimney-sweeper.
  • n. See the quotation.
  • n. A light one-horse plow-stock equipped with a sweep blade, used in working cotton, etc.
  • n. A plow-shovel designed to destroy weeds and stir the surface of the soil between rows. It is of a triangular form. somewhat bent back at the sides, often expanded into wings (wing-sweep), sometimes to a breadth of 30 inches. The wings may be adjustable.
  • n. In thermodynamics, any change in a material system, not in equilibrium, which brings it spontaneously into equilibrium; an irreversible process. Also called a sweeping process.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. force into some kind of situation, condition, or course of action
  • n. a long oar used in an open boat
  • n. (American football) an attempt to advance the ball by running around the end of the line
  • v. make a big sweeping gesture or movement
  • n. a wide scope
  • n. someone who cleans soot from chimneys
  • v. sweep with a broom or as if with a broom
  • n. winning all or all but one of the tricks in bridge
  • v. win an overwhelming victory in or on
  • v. sweep across or over
  • v. clean by sweeping
  • v. to cover or extend over an area or time period
  • n. a movement in an arc
  • v. cover the entire range of
  • v. move with sweeping, effortless, gliding motions

Etymologies

Middle English swepen, perhaps from swepe, past tense of swopen, to sweep along; see swoop.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English swāpan. Cognate with Early Mod. West Frisian swiepe ("whip, cleanse, sweep"), from Old Frisian swēpa, suepa ("sweep"). see also swoop. (Wiktionary)

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  • Cricket jargon - a stroke in which the batsman hits the ball square of the wicket on the leg side, usually by sweeping the ball around his pads. Can only be played effectively against slow bowling.

    December 8, 2007