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swoop

[swoop]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to sweep through the air, as a bird or a bat, especially down upon prey.
  2. to come down upon something in a sudden, swift attack (often followed by down and on or upon): The army swooped down on the town.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to take, lift, scoop up, or remove with or as with one sweeping motion (often followed by up, away, or off): He swooped her up in his arms.
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noun
  1. an act or instance of swooping; a sudden, swift descent.
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Idioms
  1. at/in one fell swoop, all at once or all together, as if by one blow: The quake flattened the houses at one fell swoop.
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Origin of swoop

1535–45; variant (with close ō) of Middle English swopen, Old English swāpan to sweep1; cognate with German schweifen

Synonyms

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

Related Words

pounce, dive, plummet, rush, plunge, sweep, stoop, slide, fall

Examples from the Web for swoop

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The Mercutians were almost directly overhead now, preparing to swoop.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • So the swoop of the squall took them completely by surprise.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • His right hand seemed to hang on the instant for the swoop to his gun.

    The Coyote

    James Roberts

  • With a swoop upwards instead of a swoop downwards, as you say.

    With The Night Mail

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Like a falcon on its perch, he awaited the opportunity to swoop on the quarry.

    Charles Carleton Coffin

    William Elliot Griffis, D. D.


British Dictionary definitions for swoop

swoop

verb
  1. (intr; usually foll by down, on, or upon) to sweep or pounce suddenly
  2. (tr; often foll by up, away, or off) to seize or scoop suddenly
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noun
  1. the act of swooping
  2. a swift descent
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Word Origin

Old English swāpan to sweep; related to Old High German sweifan to swing around, Old Norse sveipa to throw
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 swoop

v.

1560s, "to move or walk in a stately manner," apparently from a dialectal survival of Old English swapan "to sweep, brandish, dash," from Proto-Germanic *swaipanan, from PIE root *swei- "to swing, bend, to turn." Meaning "pounce upon with a sweeping movement" first recorded 1630s. Spelling with -oo- may have been influenced by Scottish and northern England dialectal soop "to sweep," from Old Norse sopa "to sweep." Related: Swooped; swooping.

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n.

1540s, from swoop (v.). Phrase one fell swoop is from Shakespeare.

Oh, Hell-Kite! All? What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme, At one fell swoope? ["Macbeth," IV.iii.219]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with swoop

swoop

see one fell swoop.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.