Definition of swath in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /swäTH/
(also swathe /swäT͟H/ /swôT͟H/ /swāT͟H/)

noun (plural swaths /swäTHs/ /swôTHs/ or swathes /swāT͟Hz/)

1A broad strip or area of something: vast swaths of countryside figurative a significant swath of popular opinion
More example sentences
  • In the fall of 2003, U.S. officials watched anxiously as a potent guerrilla resistance rose across broad swaths of northern and central Iraq.
  • As we made our way to Minj, emerald green tea plantations and broad swaths of coffee trees revealed evidence of foreign development.
  • In contrast, only modest efforts are now underway in the industry as a whole to integrate broad swaths of the enterprise.
2A row or line of grass, grain, or other crop as it lies when mown or reaped.
Example sentences
  • It involves natural-looking gardens and swathes of grasses mixed with drifts of perennials chosen for their shape, color and hardiness.
  • In the unlikely event of a sea entry into Dunedin, the traveller would see a small city ringed by large swathes of rough grass and trees, a ‘Town Belt’.
  • Smith flashes a smile and scuffs his foot across a swath of browned grass where Greene and the other sprinters had vomited.
2.1A strip left clear by the passage of a mowing machine or scythe: the combine had cut a deep swath around the border of the fields
More example sentences
  • For major roads they cleared swathes as wide as the distance of two cannon shots.
  • Esgar had planned to drive iron stakes every few feet, joined by lengths of chain, but that proved too costly, so he settled for clearing a swath as wide as a lady might cast a stone.
  • Along the wall, they has cleared a swath as wide as a football field, shearing off row after row of houses.



cut a swath through

Pass through (something) causing great damage, destruction, or change: a tornado cut a two-mile long swath through residential neighborhoods
More example sentences
  • Shortly thereafter, she'd begun to rent a small house near where much of the earlier destruction had cut a swath through the town.
  • Wald singled out AIDS, which is cutting a swath through many of the continent's armies.
  • A gay stigma - particularly powerful in the still homophobic world of African-Americans - keeps the disease on the ‘down-low’ even as it cuts a swathe through whole populations.

cut a wide swath

North American Attract a great deal of attention by trying to impress others.
Example sentences
  • After cutting a wide swath through dance music's hardest-hitting genres, Jackal & Hyde had such an itch to succeed that the duo plunged ahead and created its own brand of block-rocking sound.
  • So, when you think about, it really cuts a wide swathe of people.
  • Blockhead's instrumentals cut a wide swath away from his other contemporaries.


Old English swæth, swathu 'track, trace'; related to Dutch zwad(e) and German Schwade. In Middle English the term denoted a measure of the width of grassland, probably reckoned by a sweep of the mower's scythe.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.