verb (used with object), swiped, swip·ing.

verb (used without object), swiped, swip·ing.

Origin of swipe

1730–40; akin to sweep1; cognate with German schweifen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swipe

Contemporary Examples of swipe

Historical Examples of swipe

  • They say this year Keys is going to shut down on the sporting life and swipe some of the Bones type.

    Stover at Yale

    Owen Johnson

  • “He killed the three animal keepers almost at one swipe,” said the man, who proved to be the second mate.

  • You make a swipe or two at it with your niblick and only manage to get mud on your face and drive it deeper among the grass roots.

    In Pastures Green

    Peter McArthur

  • Still, how was he to know they were going to swipe his idea?

    Carl and the Cotton Gin

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • Swipe at the first ball as though you were going to knock it over the fence!

    Weatherby's Inning

    Ralph Henry Barbour

British Dictionary definitions for swipe



(when intr, usually foll by at) informal to hit hard with a sweeping blow
(tr) slang to steal
(tr) to pass a machine-readable card, such as a credit card, debit card, etc, through a machine that electronically interprets the information encoded, usu. in a magnetic strip, on the card


informal a hard blow
an unexpected criticism of someone or something while discussing another subject
Also called: sweep a type of lever for raising and lowering a weight, such as a bucket in a well

Word Origin for swipe

C19: perhaps related to sweep
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 swipe

1807, "a driving stroke made with the arms in full swing," perhaps a dialectal variant of sweep (n.), or in part from obsolete swip "a stroke, blow" (c.1200), from Proto-Germanic *swip-, related to Old English swipu "a stick, whip." Other possible sources or influences are Middle English swope "to sweep with broad movements" (in reference to brooms, swords, etc.), from Old English swapan; obsolete swaip "stroke, blow;" or obsolete swape "oar, pole."


1825, from swipe (v.). The slang sense of "steal, pilfer" appeared 1885, American English; earliest use in prison jargon:

The blokes in the next cell, little Charley Ames and the Sheeney Kid, they was hot to try it, and swiped enough shoe-lining out of shop No. 5, where they worked, to make us all breeches to the stripes. ["Lippincott's Magazine," vol. 35, June 1885]

Meaning "run a credit card" is 1990s. Related: Swiped; swiper; swiping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper