noun (used with a plural verb) British Informal.

poor, watery, or spoiled beer.
malt liquor in general, especially beer and small beer.

Origin of swipes

1780–90; noun plural use of swipe to drink down at one gulp, variant of sweep1




a strong, sweeping blow, as with a cricket bat or golf club.
Informal. a swing of the arm in order to strike somebody; punch.
Informal. a critical or cutting remark.
a leverlike device for raising or lowering a weight, especially a bucket in a well; sweep.
an act or instance of swiping: You can debit your checking account with just a swipe of your card.
Also called rub·ber. Horse Racing. a person who rubs down horses in a stable; groom.

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

to strike with a sweeping blow.
Informal. to steal: He'll swipe anything that isn't nailed down.
to slide (a magnetic card) quickly through an electronic device that reads data.
Digital Technology. to move a finger or fingers, or a stylus, across an area on (a touchscreen) in order to execute a command: Put your finger on the arrow and swipe the screen to the right to unlock your phone.

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

to make a sweeping stroke.
to slide a magnetic card through an electronic device.
Digital Technology. to move the fingers across a touchscreen: Swipe to the right to close the article.

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

Related Words for swipes

slap, pilfer, sneak, blow, knock, lick, clip, sock, clout, swat, smack, cuff, rap, wallop, strike, clump, wipe, bash, nab, cop

Examples from the Web for swipes

Contemporary Examples of swipes

Historical Examples of swipes

British Dictionary definitions for swipes


pl n

British slang beer, esp when poor or weak

Word Origin for swipes

C18: probably related to sweep



(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 swipes



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