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

  • adj. Having wide-ranging influence or effect: sweeping changes.
  • adj. Moving in or as if in a wide curve: a sweeping gesture; a sweeping glance.
  • adj. Indiscriminate; wholesale: sweeping generalizations.
  • adj. Overwhelming; complete: a sweeping victory.
  • n. The action of one that sweeps.
  • n. Things swept up; refuse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Present participle of sweep.
  • n. An instance of sweeping.
  • n. The activity of sweeping.
  • adj. wide, broad, affecting many things
  • adj. Completely overwhelming

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Cleaning off surfaces, or cleaning away dust, dirt, or litter, as a broom does; moving with swiftness and force; carrying everything before it; including in its scope many persons or things

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Carrying everything before it; overwhelming: as, a sweeping majority.
  • Including or comprehending many individuals or particulars in a single act or assertion; comprehensive; all-including: as, a sweeping charge; a sweeping declaration.
  • n. The act of one who or that which sweeps, in any sense; also, the result of such act.
  • n. plural Whatever is gathered together by or as by sweeping; rubbish; refuse.
  • n. Specifically— In stereotyping and electrotyping, the bits of metal thrown on the floor by sawing- and planing-machines.
  • n. In printing, the waste paper swept up from the floor of a press-room.
  • n. In bookbinding, the bits of gold-leaf gathered up by the cotton cloth that is used to remove the surplus gold of a gilded book.

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

  • n. the act of cleaning with a broom
  • adj. ignoring distinctions
  • adj. taking in or moving over (or as if over) a wide area; often used in combination


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • If a moiety of sweeping the kennel from the Mews-gate to the Irish coffee-house opposite to it, could fetch a good price, and I was a witness once that it did, to an unfortunate beggar-woman, who was obliged by sickness to part with half of it; what might not a beggar expect, who had the _sweeping_ of the _Pont du Gard_; or a monk, who erected a confessional box near it for the benefit of _himself_, and the fouls of poor travellers?

    A Year's Journey through France and Part of Spain, 1777 Volume 1 (of 2)

  • The government in July said it would set up a regulator outside of the ministry and in August, the previous minister, Banri Kaieda, fired the country's top energy bureaucrats in what he called "sweeping" changes. -- Top News

  • The girls 'father, Giuseppe De Vito, disappeared in 2006 when the RCMP issued a warrant for his arrest as part of what they called a sweeping crackdown on organized crime.

    The Chronicle Herald - Maintenance Feed

  • The girls 'father, Giuseppe De Vito, has been missing since 2006 when the Mounties issued a warrant for his arrest as part of what they called a sweeping crackdown on organized crime.

    CTV News RSS Feed

  • The girls 'father, Giuseppe De Vito, disappeared in 2006 after the RCMP issued a warrant for his arrest on drug charges as part of what they called a sweeping crackdown on organized crime.

    Ottawa Sun

  • The progressives played a huge role in sweeping Democrats into power.

    Pelosi: House won't take up Michael Jackson resolution

  • The example of the Prince of Wales has been largely instrumental in sweeping away the old restrictions.

    Smoking Etiquette | Edwardian Promenade

  • Our system of bicameralism, and the staggered elections for the Senate – were both designed to prevent a single big-bang election from resulting in sweeping changes (unlike a Parliamentary system, e.g., the U.K. after the 1945 election).

    Actually, I agree with both Reynolds *and* Yglesias. - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState

  • But the people would have no dealings with us, and two sworded officials, in sweeping robes of silk that made Captain Johannes Maartens 'mouth water, came aboard of us and politely requested us to begone.

    Chapter 15

  • Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has missed with a record 24 starters, thought he finally had the answer to the 1¼-mile puzzle when Eskendereya established himself as a towering favorite in sweeping key prep races by a combined 18¼ lengths.

    Kentucky Derby represents a 'humbling, challenging race'


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