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.

1535–45; variant (with close ō) of Middle English swopen, Old English swāpan to sweep1; cognate with German schweifen

4. dive, plunge, sweep, drop.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
swoop (swuːp)
1.  (intr; usually foll by down, on, or upon) to sweep or pounce suddenly
2.  (tr; often foll by up, away, or off) to seize or scoop suddenly
3.  the act of swooping
4.  a swift descent
[Old English swāpan to sweep; related to Old High German sweifan to swing around, Old Norse sveipa to throw]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1566, "to move or walk in a stately manner," apparently from a fial. survival of O.E. swapan "to sweep, brandish, dash," from P.Gmc. *swaipanan, from PIE base *swei- "to swing, bend, to turn." Meaning "pounce upon with a sweeping movement" first recorded 1638. Spelling with -oo- may have been influenced
by Scot. and northern England dial. soop "to sweep," from O.N. sopa "to sweep." The noun is attested from 1544. 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
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see one fell swoop.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
First, you head to the greenhouse--and close the door quickly so that hungry
  bugs don't swoop in.
They flap, swoop and descend while calling before diving to the original perch.
He dropped in an effortless swoop, circled, then continued his journey south.
Others swoop close to their stars and then swing far out on egg-shaped paths,
  scattering smaller bodies as they go.
Idioms & Phrases
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