General English


  • verb to move across quickly and with force


  • The curvature or bend in a log, pole, or piling; classified as a defect.
  • A bend in an electrical conduit.


  • noun a batting stroke in which the ball is hit into the area between square leg and long leg with a long sweeping movement of a horizontal bat, the bottom edge almost brushing the ground. It is typically played to a slower ball pitching around middle or leg stump, and is executed by advancing the front foot down the wicket and bending the other leg so as to assume a half-kneeling position.
    Citation ‘He stretched his left foot down the wicket and, with a sweep that seemed to begin from first slip and encompassed the whole horizon, smashed the ball hard and low to square-leg’ (James 1963)
    See also reverse sweep, slog-sweep
  • verb to hit the ball when playing a sweep
    Citation ‘Dujon reached his first hundred against England (234 minutes) with a swept four off Cook’ (John Thicknesse, WCM September 1984)


  • The steady motion of an electron beam across the screen of a CRT, usually in the horizontal direction. Also, one complete sweep.
  • The performance of a scan (1), or a scan (2).
  • To search for electronic bugs, usually with the intention of removing and/or disabling them. Also such an instance of searching.
  • To brush or wipe, as in self-cleaning contacts.


  • verb to search an area of ground or sea (especially for mines)


  • verb to hit a ball from a half-kneeling position by bringing the bat, held almost horizontally, across the body with a long smooth stroke

Origin & History of “sweep”

The Old English word for ‘sweep’ was swāpan, which evolved into Middle English swope. modern English sweep, which began to emerge in the 13th century, probably came from the old past tense swepe, a descendant of Old English swēop. Swāpan itself came from a prehistoric Germanic base *swei- ‘swing, bend’, which also produced German schweifen ‘wander’ and English swift. Swipe (19th c.) probably originated as a dialectal variant of sweep.