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[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.
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.
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Examples from the web for swooped
  • Then they bring the husbands, and the brothers, and everyone gets swooped up into this magical experience.
  • Bystanders swooped in to tend to those who had been sprayed, as police in riot gear stood watch.
  • He had machete wounds to his neck, suffered as he tried to escape the tribal militiamen who swooped down on his village recently.
  • He swooped in, punched the button and snatched the cash voucher.
  • Most often late at night, the thieves swooped in and stole the motorcycles from the owners' residences.
  • Oblivious to my presence, several times the owl swooped down to the forest floor after voles.
  • The seaplane swooped over the ship, over streams filled with spawning salmon, then glided to a landing on the water.
  • When the extortionist went to pick up the money, agents swooped in and caught him.
  • With talons outstretched, it swooped down on a group of mergansers.
  • We swooped down and circled them for a few rotations and then proceeded on our way.
British Dictionary definitions for swooped


(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
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Word Origin and History for swooped



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
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Idioms and Phrases with swooped


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