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swob

[swob]
noun, verb (used with object), swobbed, swob·bing.
  1. swab.
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swab

or swob

[swob]
noun
  1. a large mop used on shipboard for cleaning decks, living quarters, etc.
  2. a bit of sponge, cloth, cotton, or the like, sometimes fixed to a stick, for cleansing the mouth of a sick person or for applying medicaments, drying areas, etc.
  3. the material collected with a swab as a specimen for microscopic study.
  4. a brush or wad of absorbent material for cleaning the bore of a firearm.
  5. Slang. a sailor; swabby.
  6. Slang. a clumsy fellow.
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verb (used with object), swabbed, swab·bing.
  1. to clean with or as if with a swab: to swab the decks.
  2. to take up or apply, as moisture, with or as if with a swab: to swab soapy water from the decks.
  3. to pass over a surface: to swab a mop over the decks.
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Origin of swab

First recorded in 1645–55; back formation from swabber
Related formsun·swabbed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swob

Historical Examples of swob

  • Does he, you swob, roared the apparition, an oos goin to give it im?

    The Message

    Louis Tracy

  • If you swob yourself carefully with this, you will not become diseased.

    Safe Marriage

    Ettie A. Rout


British Dictionary definitions for swob

swob

noun, verb swobs, swobbing or swobbed
  1. a less common word for swab
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swab

noun
  1. med
    1. a small piece of cotton, gauze, etc, for use in applying medication, cleansing a wound, or obtaining a specimen of a secretion, etc
    2. the specimen so obtained
  2. a mop for cleaning floors, decks, etc
  3. a brush used to clean a firearm's bore
  4. slang an uncouth or worthless fellow
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verb swabs, swabbing or swabbed
  1. (tr) to clean or medicate with or as if with a swab
  2. (tr foll by up) to take up with a swab
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Word Origin for swab

C16: probably from Middle Dutch swabbe mop; related to Norwegian svabba to splash, Dutch zwabberen to mop, German schwappen to slop over
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 swob

swab

n.

1650s, "mop made of rope or yarn," from swabber (c.1600) "mop for cleaning a ship's deck," from Dutch zwabber, akin to West Frisian swabber "mop," from Proto-Germanic *swab-, perhaps of imitative origin. Non-nautical meaning "anything used for mopping up" is from 1787. Slang meaning "a sailor" first attested 1798, from swabber "member of a ship's crew assigned to swab decks" (1590s), which by 1609 was being used in a broader sense of "one who behaves like a low-ranking sailor."

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swab

v.

1719, possibly from swab (n.). Related: Swabbed; swabbing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

swob in Medicine

swab

(swŏb)
n.
  1. A small piece of absorbent material attached to the end of a stick or wire and used for cleansing or applying medicine.
  2. A specimen of mucus or other material removed with a swab.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.