[ swee-ping ]
/ ˈswi pɪŋ /


of wide range or scope.
moving or passing about over a wide area: a sweeping glance.
moving, driving, or passing steadily and forcibly on.
(of the outcome of a contest) decisive; overwhelming; complete: a sweeping victory.


the act of a person or thing that sweeps.
sweepings, matter swept out or up, as dust, refuse, etc.

Nearby words

  1. sweep under the rug,
  2. sweep-saw,
  3. sweep-second,
  4. sweepback,
  5. sweeper,
  6. sweeping score,
  7. sweepingly,
  8. sweepings,
  9. sweeps,
  10. sweepstake

Origin of sweeping

First recorded in 1470–80; sweep1 + -ing2, -ing1

Related formssweep·ing·ly, adverb


[ sweep ]
/ swip /

verb (used with object), swept, sweep·ing.

verb (used without object), swept, sweep·ing.


Origin of sweep

1250–1300; Middle English swepen (v.); compare Old English geswēpa sweepings, derivative of swāpan to sweep (> obsolete English swope); cognate with German schweifen

Related formssweep·a·ble, adjectiveun·sweep·a·ble, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for sweeping

British Dictionary definitions for sweeping


/ (ˈswiːpɪŋ) /


comprehensive and wide-rangingsweeping reforms
indiscriminate or without reservationssweeping statements
decisive or overwhelminga sweeping victory
taking in a wide areaa sweeping glance
driving steadily onwards, esp over a large areaa sweeping attack
Derived Formssweepingly, adverbsweepingness, noun


/ (swiːp) /

verb sweeps, sweeping or swept


Derived Formssweepy, adjective

Word Origin for sweep

C13 swepen; related to Old English swāpan, Old Norse sveipa; see swipe, swoop

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 sweeping
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sweeping


In addition to the idioms beginning with sweep

  • sweep off someone's feet
  • sweep under the rug

also see:

  • 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.