Definition for SWEEP

SWEEP, v.t. [pret. and pp. swept. Sax. swapan, sweopan. It seems to be allied to swab, and may be formed on the root of wipe. G. schweifen.]

  1. To brush or rub over with a brush, broom or besom, for removing loose dirt; to clean by brushing; as, to sweep a chimney or a floor. When we say, to sweep a room, we mean to sweep the floor of the room; and to sweep the house, is to sweep the floors of the house.
  2. To carry with a long swinging or dragging motion; to carry with pomp. And likes peacock, sweep along his tail. – Shak.
  3. To drive or carry along or off by a long brushing stroke or force, or by flowing on the earth. Thus the wind sweep the snow from the tops of the hills; a river sweeps away a dam, timber or rubbish; a flood sweeps away a bridge or house. Hence,
  4. To drive, destroy, or carry off many at a stroke, or with celerity and violence; as, a pestilence sweeps off multitude in a few days. The conflagration swept away whole street of houses. l have already swept the stakes. – Dryden.
  5. To rub over. Their long descending train, / With rubies edg'd and sapphires, swept the plain. – Dryden.
  6. To strike with a long stroke. Wake into voice each silent string, / And sweep the sounding lyre. – Pope.
  7. To draw or drag over; as, to sweep the bottom of a river with a net, or with the bight of a rope, to hook an anchor. – Mar. Dict.

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