Capitol vs. capital? What's the difference?


[swoop] /swup/
verb (used without object)
to sweep through the air, as a bird or a bat, especially down upon prey.
to come down upon something in a sudden, swift attack (often followed by down and on or upon):
The army swooped down on the town.
verb (used with object)
to take, lift, scoop up, or remove with or as with one sweeping motion (often followed by up, away, or off):
He swooped her up in his arms.
an act or instance of swooping; a sudden, swift descent.
at / in one fell swoop, all at once or all together, as if by one blow:
The quake flattened the houses at one fell swoop.
Origin of swoop
1535-45; variant (with close ō) of Middle English swopen, Old English swāpan to sweep1; cognate with German schweifen
4. dive, plunge, sweep, drop. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for swoop down
Historical Examples
  • Not two minutes later, who should swoop down upon us but Frau von Waldfel.

    An American Girl in Munich Mabel W. Daniels
  • This is the signal for a score of vultures to swoop down upon the body.

    The Critic in the Orient George Hamlin Fitch
  • What if a howling storm should swoop down upon them, while they were away from the cabin and up here in this elevated eyrie?

    Rocky Mountain Boys St. George Rathborne
  • The moment we are seen they will swoop down on us and attempt to cut us up.

    Under the Rebel's Reign Charles Neufeld
  • That worthy had just forebodings of a danger which was about to swoop down upon one of his best customers.

    A Start in Life Honore de Balzac
  • Suppose we were to swoop down on them in our airplane, they might think, what then?

  • Cheered and emboldened by this thought, I swoop down like a sudden eagle to the rescue.

    Nancy Rhoda Broughton
  • He would trust in his fortune, and swoop down upon the enemy.

    Wood Magic Richard Jefferies
  • Madam Johnsen stood there as though she would like to swoop down on their heads.

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
  • It may be the storm will swoop down on us before then, and force us to change our plans.

British Dictionary definitions for swoop down


(intransitive; usually foll by down, on, or upon) to sweep or pounce suddenly
(transitive; often foll by up, away, or off) to seize or scoop suddenly
the act of swooping
a swift descent
Word Origin
Old English swāpan to sweep; related to Old High German sweifan to swing around, Old Norse sveipa to throw
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for swoop down



1560s, "to move or walk in a stately manner," apparently from a dialectal survival of Old English swapan "to sweep, brandish, dash," from Proto-Germanic *swaipanan, from PIE root *swei- "to swing, bend, to turn." Meaning "pounce upon with a sweeping movement" first recorded 1630s. Spelling with -oo- may have been influenced by Scottish and northern England dialectal soop "to sweep," from Old Norse sopa "to sweep." Related: Swooped; swooping.


1540s, from swoop (v.). Phrase one fell swoop is from Shakespeare.

Oh, Hell-Kite! All? What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme, At one fell swoope? ["Macbeth," IV.iii.219]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with swoop down


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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for swoop

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for swoop

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for swoop down