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[swoth, sweyth] /swɒð, sweɪð/
verb (used with object), swathed, swathing.
to wrap, bind, or swaddle with bands of some material; wrap up closely or fully.
to bandage.
to enfold or envelop, as wrappings do.
to wrap (cloth, rope, etc.) around something.
a band of linen or the like in which something is wrapped; wrapping; bandage.
Origin of swathe1
late Old English
before 1050; (noun) Middle English; Old English *swæth or *swath (in swathum dative plural); cf. swaddle; (v.) Middle English swathen, late Old English swathian, derivative of the noun; cognate with Old Norse svatha


[swoth, sweyth] /swɒð, sweɪð/
1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for swathes
Historical Examples
  • And then he did one of those princely things that made rough men willing to be cut down in swathes for him.

    The Yeoman Adventurer George W. Gough
  • Death, issuing from that great power of artillery, laid the soldiers in swathes.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • A Maxim they had with them also swept horses and men away in swathes.

    The Invasion William Le Queux
  • When they met again, he had his head bound up with swathes of linen.

    Swirling Waters Max Rittenberg
  • It swathes those impossible masses in draperies soothingly uncertain of outline.

    In Defense of Women H. L. Mencken
  • Lavishing her silky spray, she swathes them and then sucks the body at her ease.

    The Life of the Spider J. Henri Fabre
  • Feathers are smoothed down, as a field of corn by wind with rain; only the swathes laid in beautiful order.

    Love's Meinie John Ruskin
  • He watched the departing army—paddlers sitting on swathes of filched spears.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
  • Then she watched Angiolino cutting the corn, and learned how to tie the swathes together.

  • On we go across the austere plain, between fields of madder, the red roots of the 'garance' lying in swathes along the furrows.

British Dictionary definitions for swathes


verb (transitive)
to bandage (a wound, limb, etc), esp completely
to wrap a band, garment, etc, around, esp so as to cover completely; swaddle
to envelop
a bandage or wrapping
a variant spelling of swath
Derived Forms
swathable, swatheable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English swathian; related to swæthel swaddling clothes, Old High German swedil, Dutch zwadel; see swaddle
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 swathes



Old English swaþian "to swathe," from swaðu "track, trace, band" (see swath). The noun meaning "infant's swaddling bands" was found in Old English as swaþum (dative plural).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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