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[swoth, swawth] /swɒθ, swɔθ/
the space covered by the stroke of a scythe or the cut of a mowing machine.
the piece or strip so cut.
a line or ridge of grass, grain, or the like, cut and thrown together by a scythe or mowing machine.
a strip, belt, or long and relatively narrow extent of anything.
cut a swath, to make a pretentious display; attract notice:
The new doctor cut a swath in the small community.
Also, swathe.
before 900; Middle English; Old English swæth footprint; cognate with German Shwade
Can be confused
swath, swathe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for swaths
  • Take in the prairie right and left, rolling land and new hay crops, swaths of new hay laid in the sun.
  • Whole swaths of higher education are rendered invisible.
  • Large swaths of the state are also jagged and mountainous, with mountaintops frequently obscured by clouds.
  • New knowledge brings creative destruction is also about obliterating create swaths of industry and corporate structure--.
  • When pirates and thieves are in charge of wide swaths of people this is what happens.
  • Substantial swaths of my personal history were going dead from within, from my talking about them too often.
  • He is worried that the engagement erases large swaths of his selfhood, but there is no other engagement available.
  • Still, it's frustrating to see large swaths of the country left out completely.
  • Most had wide swaths of flesh torn from their sides, which were oozing blood.
  • When the otter populations shrank, the sea urchins multiplied and gobbled up large swaths of the kelp forests growing nearby.
British Dictionary definitions for swaths


noun (pl) swaths (swɔːðz), swathes
the width of one sweep of a scythe or of the blade of a mowing machine
the strip cut by either of these in one course
the quantity of cut grass, hay, or similar crop left in one course of such mowing
a long narrow strip or belt
Word Origin
Old English swæth; related to Old Norse svath smooth patch
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
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Word Origin and History for swaths



Old English swæð, swaðu "track, trace, band," from Proto-Germanic *swathan, *swatho (cf. Old Frisian swethe "boundary made by a scythe," Middle Dutch swade, German Schwad "a row of cut grass"); ulterior connections uncertain. Meaning "space covered by the single cut of a scythe" emerged late 15c., and that of "strip, lengthwise extent" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with swaths


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