Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[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 swooping
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Darl braced himself to withstand the swooping pounce that seemed imminent, the slash of the sharp beak.

    The Great Dome on Mercury Arthur Leo Zagat
  • "Give it to me this instant," cried Winnie, swooping upon the small girl.

    Rosemary Josephine Lawrence
  • The rain is swooping down the mountain sides, and the wind howling fearfully.

  • With a great sweeping, swooping heave Mittie May made the last leap.

    Sundry Accounts Irvin S. Cobb
  • Five years later, swooping down from a Cilician raid, he entered Hamath.

    The Ancient East D. G. Hogarh
British Dictionary definitions for swooping


(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 swooping



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 swooping


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

Word Value for swooping

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for swooping