Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To move in a sudden sweep: The bird swooped down on its prey.
  • intransitive v. To make a rush or an attack with or as if with a sudden sweeping movement. Often used with down: The children swooped down on the pile of presents.
  • transitive v. To seize or snatch in or as if in a sudden sweeping movement.
  • n. The act or an instance of swooping.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to fly or glide downwards suddenly; to plunge (in the air) or nosedive
  • v. to move swiftly, as if with a sweeping movement, especially to attack something
  • n. an instance, or the act of suddenly plunging downward
  • n. an act of rushedly doing something
  • n. passing quickly from one note to the next

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To fall on at once and seize; to catch while on the wing.
  • transitive v. To seize; to catch up; to take with a sweep.
  • intransitive v. To descend with closed wings from a height upon prey, as a hawk; to stoop.
  • intransitive v. To pass with pomp; to sweep.
  • n. A falling on and seizing, as the prey of a rapacious bird; the act of swooping.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To move along with a rush; sweep; pass with pomp.
  • To descend upon, or as if upon, prey suddenly from a height, as a hawk; stoop.
  • To fall on at once and seize; dash upon and seize while on the wing: often with up: as, a hawk swoops a chicken; a kite swoops up a mouse.
  • To seize; catch up; take with a sweep.
  • n. The sudden pouncing of a rapacious bird on its prey; a falling on and seizing, as of a bird on its prey; hence, a sudden descent, as of a body of troops; a sweeping movement.

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

  • n. a swift descent through the air
  • n. a very rapid raid
  • n. (music) rapid sliding up or down the musical scale
  • v. move down on as if in an attack
  • v. seize or catch with a swooping motion
  • v. move with a sweep, or in a swooping arc

Etymologies

Middle English swopen, to sweep along, from Old English swāpan, to sweep, swing.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English swopen, from Old English swāpan ("to sweep"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Bringing together employer and candidate in one fell swoop is pehaps a holy grail, and I’m afraid it will always be so – after all we are talking about people and personalities and god knows they clash much too often.

    Jobs, jobs and more jobs! | FactoryCity

  • MARTIN GONZALEZ, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE: What we call what we call the swoop and squat.

    CNN Transcript Jun 14, 2006

  • Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who is in charge of counter-terrorism policing nationally, said the swoop was a large-scale, pre-planned and intelligence-led operation involving several forces.

    Reuters: Top News

  • What is often perceived as drifting can be their final "swoop" into the blocks.

    The nunber two reason hunters walk out of the duck woods empty handed.

  • So you would have souvenir hunters kind of swoop in, cut out pages with Twain's handwriting, his notes or him signing the flyleaf of the book.

    An Author's Personal Library Lost And Found

  • Phoebe and I are going to perform a "swoop," a dangerous maneuver that involves a high-speed landing before leveling off a few feet above ground, gliding parallel to it.

    The Thrill of Sky Diving

  • It is understood various items, including computer equipment and paperwork, were seized during the swoop which is believed to involve benefit fraud.

    Archive 2008-10-01

  • It ` s about the secret planes -- you know, the CIA planes that just kind of swoop in, take a guy out ...

    CNN Transcript Dec 21, 2007

  • Then Santa gets out of camera range, you hear commotion by the fireplace and a "swoop" sound to let Andrew know that Santa escaped through the fireplace.

    unclebob Diary Entry

  • This morning she had her whole bottle in one fell swoop, which is the first time she’s been able to do that.

    » The first 48 hours Strocel.com

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