to move or remove (dust, dirt, etc.) with or as if with a broom, brush, or the like.
to clear or clean (a floor, room, chimney, etc.) of dirt, litter, or the like, by means of a broom or brush.
to drive or carry by some steady force, as of a wind or wave: The wind swept the snow into drifts.
to pass or draw (something) over a surface with a continuous stroke or movement: The painter swept a brush over his canvas.
to make (a path, opening, etc.) by clearing a space with or as if with a broom.
to clear (a surface, place, etc.) of something on or in it (often followed by of): to sweep a sea of enemy ships.
to pass over (a surface, region, etc.) with a steady, driving movement or unimpeded course, as winds, floods, etc.: sandstorms sweeping the plains.
to search (an area or building) thoroughly: Soldiers swept the town, looking for deserters.
to pass the gaze, eyes, etc., over (a region, area, etc.): His eyes swept the countryside.
to direct (the eyes, gaze, etc.) over a region, surface, or the like: He swept his eyes over the countryside.
to examine electronically, as to search for a hidden listening device.
to win a complete or overwhelming victory in (a contest): Johnson swept the presidential election of 1964.
to win (every game, round, hand, etc., of a series of contests): The Yankees swept the three-game series.
to pass the fingers or bow over (a musical instrument, its strings or keys, etc.), as in playing.
to bring forth (music) thus.
to sweep a floor, room, etc., with or as if with a broom: The new broom sweeps well.
to move steadily and strongly or swiftly (usually followed by along, down, by, into, etc.).
to move or pass in a swift but stately manner: Proudly, she swept from the room.
to move, pass, or extend in a continuous course, especially a wide curve or circuit: His glance swept around the room.
to conduct an underwater search by towing a drag under the surface of the water.
Aeronautics. (of an airfoil or its leading or trailing edge) to project from the fuselage at an angle rearward or forward of a line perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft.
the act of sweeping, especially a moving, removing, clearing, etc., by or as if by the use of a broom: to give the house a good sweep.
the steady, driving motion or swift onward course of something moving with force or without interruption:the sweep of the wind and the waves.
an examination by electronic detection devices of a room or building to determine the presence of hidden listening devices.
a swinging or curving movement or stroke, as of the arm, a weapon, an oar, etc.
reach, range, or compass, as of something sweeping about: the sweep of a road about a marsh.
a continuous extent or stretch: a broad sweep of sand.
a curving, especially widely or gently curving, line, form, part, or mass.
matter removed or gathered by sweeping.
Also called well sweep . a leverlike device for raising or lowering a bucket in a well.
a large oar used in small vessels, sometimes to assist the rudder or to propel the craft.
an overwhelming victory in a contest.
a winning of all the games, rounds, hands, prizes, etc., in a contest by one contestant.
Football. end run (def. 1).
one of the sails of a windmill.
Agriculture. any of the detachable triangular blades on a cultivator.
Chiefly British. a person employed to clean by sweeping, especially a chimney sweeper.
Whist. the winning of all the tricks in a hand.: Compare slam2 (def. 1).
Casino. a pairing or combining, and hence taking, of all the cards on the board.
Physics. an irreversible process tending towards thermal equilibrium.
- sweep·a·ble, adjective
- un·sweep·a·ble, adjective
Other definitions for sweep (2 of 2)
- Also sweeps .
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use sweep in a sentence
Unless it’s a clean sweep by the Democrats, none of this will happen.
The chytrid pandemic was selecting frogs based on their microbes—a selective sweep in which amphibians harboring one microbial community survived above all others.When Evolution Is Infectious - Issue 90: Something Green | Moises Velasquez-Manoff | September 30, 2020 | Nautilus
This gravel handlebar keeps the controls in the same neutral position as a standard road handlebar and creates sweep below the controls for a wider, more confident hand position when riding in the drops.
There’s also no evidence that a single sweep of the virus through the population would lead to herd immunity, says Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health.Herd immunity alone won’t stop COVID-19. Here’s why. | Kate Baggaley | September 2, 2020 | Popular-Science
Although several players have gotten close, and several others seem like they’ve played for every single team in a league, there are surprisingly few who have made a clean sweep of a given division.
Decorative yes, but a daily handbag that will sweep through the closets of women worldwide?Handbags: The More You Pay, The Smaller They Shrink | Elizabeth Landers | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In the long sweep of LGBT equality, it could have stood as a seminal moment.
The “24-hour news cycle” just makes them harder to sweep under the rug and ignore.I Blame People Who Blame the Media: Robert McCulloch’s Tone-Deaf Speech | Arthur Chu | November 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
It was a street-sweep, and violence had broken out, and the government was cracking down.Jon Stewart Talks ‘Rosewater’ and the ‘Chickensh-t’ Democrats’ Midterm Massacre | Marlow Stern | November 9, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The remains were shipped to Fiji just as the war was about to sweep the region.
To talk German was beyond the sweep of my dizziest ambition, but an Italian runner or porter instantly presented himself.Glances at Europe | Horace Greeley
He walked up the sweep of sandy drive to the hotel and went through the big glass doors.The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
Thenceforth, it ebbed, though it raged madly for a while in the effort to sweep away the obstruction.The Red Year | Louis Tracy
And then if the ghost of a chimney-sweep were to appear—and why not the spirit of a sweep as well as anybody else?Second Edition of A Discovery Concerning Ghosts | George Cruikshank
It is otherwise with the people who dwell upon the land over which these atmospheric convulsions sweep.Outlines of the Earth's History | Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
British Dictionary definitions for sweep
to clean or clear (a space, chimney, etc) with a brush, broom, etc
(often foll by up) to remove or collect (dirt, rubbish, etc) with a brush, broom, etc
to move in a smooth or continuous manner, esp quickly or forcibly: cars swept along the road
to move in a proud or dignified fashion: she swept past
to spread or pass rapidly across, through, or along (a region, area, etc): the news swept through the town
(tr) to direct (the gaze, line of fire, etc) over; survey
(tr; foll by away or off) to overwhelm emotionally: she was swept away by his charm
(tr) to brush or lightly touch (a surface, etc): the dress swept along the ground
(tr often foll by away) to convey, clear, or abolish, esp with strong or continuous movements: the sea swept the sandcastle away; secondary modern schools were swept away
(intr) to extend gracefully or majestically, esp in a wide circle: the plains sweep down to the sea
to search (a body of water) for mines, etc, by dragging
to search (a room, area, etc) electronically to detect spying devices
(tr) to win overwhelmingly, esp in an election: Labour swept the country
cricket to play (a ball) with a sweep
(tr) to propel (a boat) with sweeps
sweep something under the carpet or sweep something under the rug to conceal (something, esp a problem) in the hope that it will be overlooked by others
sweep the board
(in gambling) to win all the cards or money
to win every event or prize in a contest
the act or an instance of sweeping; removal by or as if by a brush or broom
a swift or steady movement, esp in an arc: with a sweep of his arms
the distance, arc, etc, through which something, such as a pendulum, moves
a wide expanse or scope: the sweep of the plains
any curving line or contour
the winning of every trick in a hand of whist
the taking, by pairing, of all exposed cards in cassino
short for sweepstake
cricket a shot in which the ball is hit more or less square on the leg side from a half-kneeling position with the bat held nearly horizontal
a long oar used on an open boat
Australian a person steering a surf boat with such an oar
any of the sails of a windmill
electronics a steady horizontal or circular movement of an electron beam across or around the fluorescent screen of a cathode-ray tube
a rakelike attachment for the front of a motor vehicle for pushing hay into piles
a triangular blade on a cultivator used to cut through roots below the surface of the soil
a curving driveway
mainly British See chimney sweep
another name for swipe (def. 6)
an overwhelming victory or success
a complete change; purge: to make a clean sweep
- sweepy, adjective
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with sweep
In addition to the idioms beginning with sweep
- sweep off someone's feet
- sweep under the rug
- make a clean sweep
- new broom sweeps clean
- (sweep) off someone's feet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.