There are 2 main definitions of swathe in English:

Share this entry

swathe 1

Pronunciation: /sweɪð/
(also swath /sweɪð/ /swɒθ/)

noun (plural swathes /sweɪðz/ or swaths /sweɪðz/ /swɒθs/)

1A broad strip or area of something: vast swathes of countryside figurative a significant swathe 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, corn, or other crop as it falls or lies when mown or reaped: if the day is windy, the swathes should be high and narrow swathes of barley
More 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 swathe 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 swathe through

Pass through (something) causing great damage, destruction, or change: AIDS has cut a swathe through battalions of ordinary people
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', of West Germanic origin; 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.

Words that rhyme with swathe

bathe, lathe, rathe, scathe, spathe
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of swathe in English:

Share this entry

swathe 2

Pronunciation: /sweɪð/


[with object] (usually be swathed in)
Wrap in several layers of fabric: his hands were swathed in bandages
More example sentences
  • It was as if the models were swathed in giant fabric sample books, each layer peeling off to reveal another beneath.
  • Ayrshire landmark Ailsa Craig is swathed in a layer of mist, thick enough to maintain a veil of secrecy.
  • For the second day in a row the moors were swathed in mists first thing in the morning, a sea mist rolling in again to meet them, and the world damp, drizzly and chill.


A piece or strip of material in which something is wrapped: they wrapped the body inside a canvas swathe
More example sentences
  • In fact, the swathe of material - about six yards long and two feet wide - is a saree, a traditional Indian dress.
  • There is a rough and ready quality to the portraits, which often feature a swathe of canvas carelessly draped, by leading Swiss photographer Christian Coigny.
  • Liquid Dreaming by lorrainemd is just plain pretty - especially that swathe of red material behind the model which looks more like ink diffused in water than fabric.


Late Old English swath- (noun), swathian (verb); compare with swaddle.

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.