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See more synonyms for sweeping on Thesaurus.com
  1. of wide range or scope.
  2. moving or passing about over a wide area: a sweeping glance.
  3. moving, driving, or passing steadily and forcibly on.
  4. (of the outcome of a contest) decisive; overwhelming; complete: a sweeping victory.
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  1. the act of a person or thing that sweeps.
  2. sweepings, matter swept out or up, as dust, refuse, etc.
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Origin of sweeping

First recorded in 1470–80; sweep1 + -ing2, -ing1
Related formssweep·ing·ly, adverb


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for sweepings

Historical Examples

  • The sweepings of the London and Bristol streets were exported for servants.

    A History of American Christianity

    Leonard Woolsey Bacon

  • The American gentleman had secured it all and left us the sweepings.

    A Tale of Three Lions

    H. Rider Haggard

  • It was choked with a crowd, composed of the sweepings of Europe and Asia.

  • That ginger snaps are made of the sweepings of the floor in the bakery.

    The American Credo

    George Jean Nathan

  • On the Christian fleet they were the sweepings of the jails.

British Dictionary definitions for sweepings


pl n
  1. debris, litter, or refuse
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  1. comprehensive and wide-rangingsweeping reforms
  2. indiscriminate or without reservationssweeping statements
  3. decisive or overwhelminga sweeping victory
  4. taking in a wide areaa sweeping glance
  5. driving steadily onwards, esp over a large areaa sweeping attack
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Derived Formssweepingly, adverbsweepingness, noun
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