Word forms: sweeps
1. verb If you sweep an area of floor or ground, you push dirt or rubbish off it using a brush with a long handle. [V n] ⇒ The owner of the store was sweeping his floor when I walked in. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ She was in the kitchen sweeping crumbs into a dust pan. [V] ⇒ Norma picked up the broom and began sweeping. 2. verb If you sweep things off something, you push them off with a quick smooth movement of your arm. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ I swept rainwater off the flat top of a gravestone. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ With a gesture of frustration, she swept the cards from the table. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ 'Thanks friend,' he said, while sweeping the money into his pocket. 3. verb
If someone with long hair sweeps their hair into a particular style, they put it into that style. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ ...stylish ways of sweeping your hair off your face. [be V-ed] ⇒ Her long, fine hair was swept back in a ponytail.
4. ergative verb & verb
If your arm or hand sweeps in a particular direction, or if you sweep it there, it moves quickly and smoothly in that direction. [V prep/adv] ⇒ His arm swept around the room. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ Daniels swept his arm over his friend's shoulder. [V-ing] ⇒ ...the long sweeping arm movements of a violinist.
Sweep is also a noun. ⇒ With one sweep of her hand she threw back the sheets. 5. verb If wind, a stormy sea, or another strong force sweeps someone or something along, it moves them quickly along. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ ...landslides that buried homes and swept cars into the sea. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ Suddenly, she was swept along by the crowd. 6. verb If you are swept somewhere, you are taken there very quickly. [be V-ed prep/adv] ⇒ The visitors were swept past various monuments. [V n prep/adv] ⇒ A limousine swept her along the busy freeway to the airport. 7. verb If something sweeps from one place to another, it moves there extremely quickly. [written] [V prep/adv] ⇒ An icy wind swept through the streets. [V prep/adv] ⇒ The car swept past the gate house. 8. verb If events, ideas, or beliefs sweep through a place, they spread quickly through it. [V + through/across] ⇒ A flu epidemic is sweeping through Moscow. [V n] ⇒ ...the wave of patriotism sweeping the country. 9. verb If someone sweeps into a place, they walk into it in a proud, confident way, often when they are angry. [written] [V prep/adv] ⇒ She swept into the conference room. [V prep/adv] ⇒ Scarlet with rage, she swept past her employer and stormed up the stairs. [V prep/adv] ⇒ The Chief turned and swept out. 10. verb If a person or thing sweeps something away or aside, they remove it quickly and completely. [V n with adv] ⇒ The commission's conclusions sweep away a decade of denials and cover-ups. [V n with adv] ⇒ In times of war, governments often sweep human rights aside. [V n prep] ⇒ He swept the names from his mind. 11. verb If lights or someone's eyes sweep an area, they move across the area from side to side. [mainly written] [V n] ⇒ Helicopters with searchlights swept the park which was sealed off. [V prep/adv] ⇒ Her gaze sweeps rapidly around the room. 12. verb If land or water sweeps somewhere, it stretches out in a long, wide, curved shape. [V prep/adv] ⇒ The land sweeps away from long areas of greenery. [V prep/adv] ⇒ ...the arc of countries that sweeps down from South Korea to Indonesia. 13. countable noun [with supp]
A sweep of land or water forms a long, wide, curved shape. ⇒ The ground fell away in a broad sweep down to the river. ⇒ ...the great sweep of the bay.
14. verb If a person or group sweeps an election or sweeps to victory, they win the election easily. [V n] ⇒ ...a man who's promised to make radical changes to benefit the poor has swept the election. [V + to] ⇒ In both republics, centre-right parties swept to power. [V n to n] ⇒ ...voters nostalgic for the free-spending policies of the 1980s swept his Socialists back to power. [V-ing] ⇒ ...a sweeping victory. 15. countable noun [usu sing] If someone makes a sweep of a place, they search it, usually because they are looking for people who are hiding or for an illegal activity. ⇒ Two of the soldiers swiftly began making a sweep of the premises. ⇒ There may be periodic police 'sweeps' of crime in the area. 16. singular noun [with supp] If you refer to the sweep of something, you are indicating that it includes a large number of different events, qualities, or opinions. ⇒ ...the whole sweep of German social and political history.
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