Definition of swath in English:

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Pronunciation: /swäTH/
Pronunciation: /swôTH/
(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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: swath

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