or swob

[ swob ]
/ swɒb /


verb (used with object), swabbed, swab·bing.

Nearby words

  1. svo language,
  2. svq,
  3. svs,
  4. sw,
  5. sw.,
  6. swab.,
  7. swabber,
  8. swabby,
  9. swabia,
  10. swabian

Origin of swab

First recorded in 1645–55; back formation from swabber

Related formsun·swabbed, adjective


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swab

British Dictionary definitions for swab


/ (swɒb) /


  1. a small piece of cotton, gauze, etc, for use in applying medication, cleansing a wound, or obtaining a specimen of a secretion, etc
  2. the specimen so obtained
a mop for cleaning floors, decks, etc
a brush used to clean a firearm's bore
slang an uncouth or worthless fellow

verb swabs, swabbing or swabbed

(tr) to clean or medicate with or as if with a swab
(tr foll by up) to take up with a swab

Word Origin for swab

C16: probably from Middle Dutch swabbe mop; related to Norwegian svabba to splash, Dutch zwabberen to mop, German schwappen to slop over

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

Word Origin and History for swab
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for swab


[ swŏb ]


A small piece of absorbent material attached to the end of a stick or wire and used for cleansing or applying medicine.
A specimen of mucus or other material removed with a swab.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.