[ swob ]
/ swɒb /
a large mop used on shipboard for cleaning decks, living quarters, etc.
a bit of sponge, cloth, cotton, or the like, sometimes fixed to a stick, for cleansing the mouth of a sick person or for applying medicaments, drying areas, etc.
the material collected with a swab as a specimen for microscopic study.
a brush or wad of absorbent material for cleaning the bore of a firearm.
Slang. a sailor; swabby.
Slang. a clumsy fellow.
verb (used with object), swabbed, swab·bing.
to clean with or as if with a swab: to swab the decks.
to take up or apply, as moisture, with or as if with a swab: to swab soapy water from the decks.
to pass over a surface: to swab a mop over the decks.
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Origin of swab
First recorded in 1645–55; back formation from swabber
OTHER WORDS FROM swabun·swabbed, adjective
Definition for swab (2 of 2)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for swab
/ (swɒb) /
- 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
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
Medical 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.