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[swoth, swawth] /swɒθ, swɔθ/
the space covered by the stroke of a scythe or the cut of a mowing machine.
the piece or strip so cut.
a line or ridge of grass, grain, or the like, cut and thrown together by a scythe or mowing machine.
a strip, belt, or long and relatively narrow extent of anything.
cut a swath, to make a pretentious display; attract notice:
The new doctor cut a swath in the small community.
Also, swathe.
Origin of swath
before 900; Middle English; Old English swæth footprint; cognate with German Shwade
Can be confused
swath, swathe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for swath
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Steel-Blue had cut a swath around him 15 feet deep and five feet wide.

    Acid Bath Vaseleos Garson
  • Now you can understand the width of the swath he cuts in these parts.

  • I devastated a swath of territory fifty miles wide and a hundred miles long.

    At Good Old Siwash George Fitch
  • He is rather excitable and erratic, but he cuts quite a swath here.

    Polly the Pagan Isabel Anderson
  • His scythe is one that don't need any grindstun, and his swath is one that must be cut.

    Sweet Cicely Josiah Allen's Wife: Marietta Holley
British Dictionary definitions for swath


noun (pl) swaths (swɔːðz), swathes
the width of one sweep of a scythe or of the blade of a mowing machine
the strip cut by either of these in one course
the quantity of cut grass, hay, or similar crop left in one course of such mowing
a long narrow strip or belt
Word Origin
Old English swæth; related to Old Norse svath smooth patch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swath

Old English swæð, swaðu "track, trace, band," from Proto-Germanic *swathan, *swatho (cf. Old Frisian swethe "boundary made by a scythe," Middle Dutch swade, German Schwad "a row of cut grass"); ulterior connections uncertain. Meaning "space covered by the single cut of a scythe" emerged late 15c., and that of "strip, lengthwise extent" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with swath


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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