sweep Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “sweep” in the English Dictionary

"sweep" in British English

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sweepverb

uk   /swiːp/  us   /swiːp/ (swept, swept)
  • sweep verb (CLEAN)

B2 [T] to ​cleanespecially a ​floor by using a ​brush to ​collect the ​dirt into one ​place from which it can be ​removed: sweep the ​floor

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  • sweep verb (MOVE)

C2 [I + adv/prep] to ​move, ​especiallyquickly and ​powerfully: Everyone ​looked up as she swept into the ​room. The ​fire swept (= ​spreadquickly) through the ​house. The National Party swept into ​power (= ​easilywon the ​election) with a ​majority of ​almost 200.
[T] to ​quicklyspread through and ​influence an ​area: A 1970s ​fashionrevival is sweeping ​Europe.
[T] to ​travelacross all of an ​area, ​especially when ​looking for something: American ​minesweepers are sweeping the ​Arabian Sea.
[I usually + adv/prep] If a ​road, ​river, ​range of ​mountains, set of ​steps, etc. sweeps in a ​particulardirection, they ​follow a ​particularcurvedpath: The ​road sweeps down to the ​coast.

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  • sweep verb (REMOVE)

B2 [T usually + adv/prep] to ​remove and/or take in a ​particulardirection, ​especially in a ​fast and ​powerful way: A ​largewave swept awayhalf the ​sandcastle. She swept the ​pile of ​papers and ​books into her ​bag. The ​boat was swept out to ​sea (= away from ​land) by the ​tide. Government ​troops swept aside the ​rebelforces (= ​caused them to ​move away from the ​area in which they were).

sweepnoun

uk   /swiːp/  us   /swiːp/
  • sweep noun (MOVEMENT)

[C] a ​movement, ​especially a ​quick, ​powerful one or one to ​search an ​area: With a sweep (= ​horizontalmovement) ofitstail, the ​alligatorknocked her under the ​water.
[C] a ​long, often ​curved, ​area of ​land, ​sea, ​river, etc.: A ​broad sweep offlatcountrysidestretched to the ​horizon in all ​directions.
(Definition of sweep from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sweep" in American English

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sweepverb

 us   /swip/ (past tense and past participle swept  /swept/ )
  • sweep verb (CLEAN)

[I/T] to ​clean a ​floor or other ​surface by using a ​brush to ​collect the ​dirt into one ​place from which it can be ​removed: [T] She sweeps the ​street in ​front of her ​house. [M] The ​classroom is ​filthy – could you sweep it out? [I] I swept under every ​piece of ​furniture.
  • sweep verb (REMOVE)

[T always + adv/prep] to ​remove or take something in a ​particulardirection, esp. ​suddenly and with ​force: She paused, sweeping a ​hair from her ​brow. [M] Floodwaters were sweeping away ​gardens and ​drivingresidents to ​higherground.
  • sweep verb (MOVE)

[I/T] to move ​quickly and sometimes ​forcefully: [I always + adv/prep] A ​stiffbreeze swept ​across the ​parking lot. [I always + adv/prep] He would sweep through the ​roomshakinghands with everyone. [T] Our ​headlights were sweeping the ​treesahead.
  • sweep verb (WIN)

[T] to ​win all the ​parts of a ​competition: New York swept ​theirseries with Vancouver, 3-0.

sweepnoun [C]

 us   /swip/
  • sweep noun [C] (MOVEMENT)

a ​largemovementacross an ​area: the sweep of the clock’s ​hourhand a ​police sweep
The sweep of an ​idea or ​piece of writing is the ​range of ​itssubject: He is ​aware of the ​epic sweep of this ​project.
  • sweep noun [C] (WIN)

the ​fact of ​winning everything that is ​available or all ​parts of a ​competition: She ​prevented Republicans from making a ​clean sweep of the ​election by ​winning the ​race in District 27.
(Definition of sweep from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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