Word Origin & History
1807, "a driving stroke made with the arms in full swing," perhaps a dialectal variant of sweep, or in part from obsolete swip "a stroke, blow" (c.1200), from P.Gmc. *swip-, related to O.E. swipu "a stick, whip." Other possible sources or influences are M.E. swope "to sweep with broad movements" (in
ref. to brooms, swords, etc.), from O.E. swapan; obsolete swaip "stroke, blow;" or obsolete swape "oar, pole." The verb is from 1825. The slang sense of "steal, pilfer" appeared 1889, Amer.Eng., said originally to be theatrical jargon for performers stealing jokes or stage routines from one another. Meaning "run a credit card" is 1990s.