verb (used with object), swabbed, swab·bing.
Origin of swab
Examples from the Web for swab
She submitted to a DNA swab after some discussions between the authorities and her lawyer.Katherine Russell Under Scrutiny After Female DNA Found on Boston Bomb|Michael Daly|April 30, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Pour a little into a cup, and apply to the spots with a swab, but be sure not to allow the acid to touch the hands.The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887)|Mrs. F.L. Gillette
Had not he possessed that, he would not have been at the head of the firm of Crank, Trunnion & Swab.The Two Supercargoes|W.H.G. Kingston
The bauer by daylight was somewhat less of a Swab and gave me milk for my porridge, the first I had had for three months.The New Germany|George Young
- a small piece of cotton, gauze, etc, for use in applying medication, cleansing a wound, or obtaining a specimen of a secretion, etc
- the specimen so obtained
verb swabs, swabbing or swabbed
Word Origin for swab
1650s, "mop made of rope or yarn," from swabber (c.1600) "mop for cleaning a ship's deck," from Dutch zwabber, akin to West Frisian swabber "mop," from Proto-Germanic *swab-, perhaps of imitative origin. Non-nautical meaning "anything used for mopping up" is from 1787. Slang meaning "a sailor" first attested 1798, from swabber "member of a ship's crew assigned to swab decks" (1590s), which by 1609 was being used in a broader sense of "one who behaves like a low-ranking sailor."
1719, possibly from swab (n.). Related: Swabbed; swabbing.