1. a strong, sweeping blow, as with a cricket bat or golf club.
  2. Informal. a swing of the arm in order to strike somebody; punch.
  3. a sideswipe.
  4. Informal. a critical or cutting remark.
  5. a leverlike device for raising or lowering a weight, especially a bucket in a well; sweep.
  6. an act or instance of swiping: You can debit your checking account with just a swipe of your card.
  7. Also called rub·ber. Horse Racing. a person who rubs down horses in a stable; groom.
verb (used with object), swiped, swip·ing.
  1. to strike with a sweeping blow.
  2. Informal. to steal: He'll swipe anything that isn't nailed down.
  3. to slide (a magnetic card) quickly through an electronic device that reads data.
  4. 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.
  1. to make a sweeping stroke.
  2. to slide a magnetic card through an electronic device.
  3. 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. 2018

Related Words for swiping

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 swiping

Contemporary Examples of swiping

Historical Examples of swiping

  • I've stood your slurs ever since I got here, but I'll be jobeefed if I'll stand for your swiping my property.

    The Landloper

    Holman Day

  • Just like 'em to be swiping a new war machine; but hadn't they gotten enough in 1944?

  • The first ball of the over, Jack steps out and meets, swiping with all his force.

    Tom Brown at Rugby

    Thomas Hughes

  • So far, Malone, she's the only lead we have on the guy who's swiping information from Yucca Flats.

    That Sweet Little Old Lady

    Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA Mark Phillips)

  • Our gang decided we could pick up a hundred grand easier by kidnapping you than by swiping jewelry.

British Dictionary definitions for swiping


  1. (when intr, usually foll by at) informal to hit hard with a sweeping blow
  2. (tr) slang to steal
  3. (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
  1. informal a hard blow
  2. an unexpected criticism of someone or something while discussing another subject
  3. 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 swiping



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