• The little chimney sweep, with his ragged clothes and brush
    The little chimney sweep, with his ragged clothes and brush
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v sweep win an overwhelming victory in or on "Her new show dog swept all championships"
    • v sweep sweep with a broom or as if with a broom "Sweep the crumbs off the table","Sweep under the bed"
    • v sweep clean by sweeping "Please sweep the floor"
    • v sweep make a big sweeping gesture or movement
    • v sweep move with sweeping, effortless, gliding motions "The diva swept into the room","Shreds of paper sailed through the air","The searchlights swept across the sky"
    • v sweep sweep across or over "Her long skirt brushed the floor","A gasp swept cross the audience"
    • v sweep force into some kind of situation, condition, or course of action "They were swept up by the events","don't drag me into this business"
    • v sweep to cover or extend over an area or time period "Rivers traverse the valley floor", "The parking lot spans 3 acres","The novel spans three centuries"
    • v sweep cover the entire range of
    • n sweep a movement in an arc "a sweep of his arm"
    • n sweep (American football) an attempt to advance the ball by running around the end of the line
    • n sweep a long oar used in an open boat
    • n sweep a wide scope "the sweep of the plains"
    • n sweep winning all or all but one of the tricks in bridge
    • n sweep someone who cleans soot from chimneys
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Woman sweeping Woman sweeping

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Tropical ants, when a flood sweeps down on them, roll themselves into a huge living ball which drifts upon the water, with the young safe and dry at the core.
    • Sweep (Naut) A large oar used in small vessels, partly to propel them and partly to steer them.
    • Sweep A long pole, or piece of timber, moved on a horizontal fulcrum fixed to a tall post and used to raise and lower a bucket in a well for drawing water.
    • Sweep (Founding) A movable templet for making molds, in loam molding.
    • Sweep Direction and extent of any motion not rectlinear; as, the sweep of a compass.
    • Sweep Direction or departure of a curve, a road, an arch, or the like, away from a rectlinear line. "The road which makes a small sweep ."
    • Sweep (Card Playing) In the game of casino, a pairing or combining of all the cards on the board, and so removing them all; in whist, the winning of all the tricks (thirteen) in a hand; a slam.
    • Sweep One who sweeps; a sweeper; specifically, a chimney sweeper.
    • Sweep The act of sweeping.
    • Sweep (Refining) The almond furnace.
    • Sweep The compass of any turning body or of any motion; as, the sweep of a door; the sweep of the eye.
    • Sweep The compass of anything flowing or brushing; as, the flood carried away everything within its sweep .
    • Sweep The compass or range of a stroke; as, a long sweep .
    • Sweep (Naut) The mold of a ship when she begins to curve in at the rungheads; any part of a ship shaped in a segment of a circle.
    • Sweep The sweeping of workshops where precious metals are worked, containing filings, etc.
    • Sweep To brush against or over; to rub lightly along. "Their long descending train,
      With rubies edged and sapphires, swept the plain."
    • Sweep To brush swiftly over the surface of anything; to pass with switness and force, as if brushing the surface of anything; to move in a stately manner; as, the wind sweeps across the plain; a woman sweeps through a drawing-room.
    • Sweep To carry with a long, swinging, or dragging motion; hence, to carry in a stately or proud fashion. "And like a peacock sweep along his tail."
    • Sweep To clean rooms, yards, etc., or to clear away dust, dirt, litter, etc., with a broom, brush, or the like.
    • Sweep (Naut) To draw or drag something over; as, to sweep the bottom of a river with a net.
    • Sweep To drive or carry along or off with a broom or a brush, or as if with a broom; to remove by, or as if by, brushing; as, to sweep dirt from a floor; the wind sweeps the snow from the hills; a freshet sweeps away a dam, timber, or rubbish; a pestilence sweeps off multitudes. "The hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies.""I have already swept the stakes."
    • Sweep To pass a broom across (a surface) so as to remove loose dirt, dust, etc.; to brush, or rub over, with a broom for the purpose of cleaning; as, to sweep a floor, the street, or a chimney. Used also figuratively. "I will sweep it with the besom of destruction."
    • Sweep To pass over anything comprehensively; to range through with rapidity; as, his eye sweeps through space.
    • Sweep To pass over, or traverse, with the eye or with an instrument of observation; as, to sweep the heavens with a telescope.
    • Sweep To strike with a long stroke. "Wake into voice each silent string,
      And sweep the sounding lyre."
    • Sweep Violent and general destruction; as, the sweep of an epidemic disease.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • sweep To move or pass along with a swift waving or surging movement: as, the wind sweeps along the plain; pass with overwhelming force or violence, especially over a surface: as, a sweeping flood.
    • sweep To pass with pomp, as if with trailing garments: sometimes with an indefinite it.
    • sweep To move with a long reach; move with a prolonged sliding or trailing motion: as, a sweeping stroke.
    • sweep To pass systematically over a surface in search of something; especially, to move the line of vision in such a way as to search every part of a given angular area: a modification of the transitive use II., 5. Hence, in astronomy, to search systematically any part of the heavens by moving the telescope, or, especially, by allowing it to remain motionless until the diurnal motion has carried a certain part of the heavens through the field, when the telescope is carried back to the west and set to the next adjacent zone.
    • sweep To pass over a surface with a broom or besom; clean up: as, a servant engaged to sweep and scrub.
    • sweep To swing or slat the flukes from side to side, as a whale when wounded or attacked. It is the characteristic method of defense. The fullest action of the flukes is called sweeping (or slatting) from eye to eye.
    • sweep To move, drive, or carry forward or away by overwhelming force or violence; remove or gather up by a long brushing stroke: literally or figuratively: as, the wind sweeps the snow from the tops of the hills; a flood sweeps away a bridge or a house.
    • sweep To carry with a long swinging or dragging movement; trail pompously.
    • sweep To strike with a long sweeping stroke; brush or traverse quickly with the fingers; pass with a brushing motion, as the fingers; hence, to produce, as musical sounds, by such a motion or stroke.
    • sweep To move over or along: as, the wind swept the surface of the sea.
    • sweep To direct the eye over in a comprehensive glance; view with the eye or an optical instrument in a rapid and general survey: as, to sweep the heavens with a telescope.
    • sweep To brush over, as with a broom or besom, for removing loose dirt; make clean by brushing: as, to sweep a floor or a chimney.
    • sweep To rid as by sweeping; clear.
    • sweep To draw or drag something over: as, to sweep the bottom of a river with a net, or with the bight of a rope to hook an anchor.
    • sweep To propel by means of sweeps or long oars.
    • sweep To have within range of fire; clear of enemies or a mob by a discharge of artillery or musketry, as a street or square.
    • n sweep The act of sweeping; the act of effecting something by means of a sweeping or clearing-out force; hence, wholesale change or removal.
    • n sweep The reach or range of a continued motion or stroke: as, the long sweep of a scythe; direction or extent of any motion not rectilinear: as, the sweep of a compass; hence, range, in general; compass.
    • n sweep Specifically— The compass of anything flowing or blowing: as, the flood or the storm carried away everything within its sweep.
    • n sweep Reach; extent; prevalence, as of a disease: as, the sweep of an epidemic.
    • n sweep A turn, bend, or curve.
    • n sweep A circular, semicircular, or curved carriage-drive in front of a house.
    • n sweep A rapid survey or inspection by moving the direction of vision in a systematic manner so as to search the whole of a given angular area; especially, in astronomy, the act of sweeping (see sweep, v. i., 4); hence, the immediate object of such a view; hence, again, the external object, the country, or section of the heavens viewed.
    • n sweep In ship-building, any are of a circle used in the body-plan to describe the form of the timbers.
    • n sweep Nautical, a large oar, used in small vessels sometimes to assist the rudder in turning the vessel in a calm, but usually to propel the craft. Also swape.
    • n sweep A metal frame on which the tiller or rudder-yoke of a ship travels.
    • n sweep An engine formerly used in war for throwing stones into fortresses; a ballista.
    • n sweep A device for drawing water from a well by means of a long pole resting on a tall upright as a fulcrum; also, one of various somewhat similar levers performing other functions, as the lever of a horse-power. Also swipe, swape.
    • n sweep In loam-molding, a pattern shape consisting of a board of which the edge is cut to the form of the cross-sectional outline of the article to be molded. The surface of the mold or core is formed by moving the sweep parallel to the axis at right angles to its length. For hollow articles, as pipes, sweeps are made in pairs, one for “running up” the core and the other for forming the interior of the mold. They are consequently the reverse of each other, and the radii differ by a quantity equal to the thickness of the metal of the pipe to be cast. Thus, supposing the internal diameter of the pipe to be 24 inches, and the thickness of the metal 1 inch, the radius of each core and sweep (see a) will be 12 inches, and the radius of the mold-sweep (see b) 13 inches. Sweeps are employed for many other symmetrical forms besides cylinders.
    • n sweep A form of light plow or cultivator used for working crops planted in rows, as cotton or maize; a cotton-sweep.
    • n sweep In card-playing: In the game of casino, a pairing or combining of all the cards on the board and so removing them all.
    • n sweep In whist, the winning of all the tricks in a hand.
    • n sweep Same as sweepstakes.
    • n sweep plural The sweepings of an establishment where precious metals are worked, as a goldsmith's or silversmith's shop, or a mint.
    • n sweep One who sweeps; a sweeper; specifically, a chimney-sweeper.
    • n sweep See the quotation.
    • sweep To form (a mold which has the profile made by a surface of revolution) by causing the profile, reproduced on the edge of a board, to revolve or sweep around an axis. See sweep, n., 11.
    • n sweep A light one-horse plow-stock equipped with a sweep blade, used in working cotton, etc.
    • n sweep A plow-shovel designed to destroy weeds and stir the surface of the soil between rows. It is of a triangular form. somewhat bent back at the sides, often expanded into wings (wing-sweep), sometimes to a breadth of 30 inches. The wings may be adjustable.
    • n sweep In thermodynamics, any change in a material system, not in equilibrium, which brings it spontaneously into equilibrium; an irreversible process. Also called a sweeping process.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Sweep swēp to wipe or rub over with a brush or broom: to carry along or off by a long brushing stroke or force: to destroy or carry off at a stroke: to strike with a long stroke: to carry with pomp: to drag over: to pass rapidly over
    • v.i Sweep to pass swiftly and forcibly: to pass with pomp: to move with a long reach:—pa.t. and pa.p. swept
    • n Sweep act of sweeping: extent of a stroke, or of anything turning or in motion: prevalence, range: direction of a curve: the act of bringing into a general movement: rapid or wide-spread destructiveness: a curved approach before a building: a chimney-sweeper:
    • n Sweep (pl.) oars of great length used during a calm or in still water, either to assist the rudder or to propel the vessel
    • ***


  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “Rest not. Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time.”
  • Clarence Day
    Clarence Day
    “You can't sweep other people off their feet, if you can't be swept off your own.”
  • Steven Weinberg
    Steven Weinberg
    “An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the grand fallacy.”
  • Patrick Kavanagh
    Patrick Kavanagh
    “A sweeping statement is the only statement worth listening to. The critic without faith gives balanced opinions, usually about second-rate writers.”
  • Shirley Conran
    Shirley Conran
    “I make no secret of the fact that I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it. But you have to be efficient if you're going to be lazy.”


Clean sweep - If someone makes a clean sweep, they win absolutely everything in a competition or contest.
New brush sweeps clean - 'A new brush sweeps clean' means that someone with a new perspective can make great changes. However, the full version is 'a new brush sweeps clean, but an old brush knows the corners', which warns that experience is also a valuable thing. Sometimes 'broom' is used instead of 'brush'.
Sweep off your feet - If you are swept off your feet, you lose control emotionally when you fall in love or are really impressed.
Sweep things under the carpet - If people try to ignore unpleasant things and forget about them, they sweep them under the carpet.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. swepen,; akin to AS. swāpan,. See Swoop (v. i.)


In literature:

Too probably, therefore, it was sweeping over the lower end, on which their shipmates had remained.
"Owen Hartley; or, Ups and Downs" by William H. G. Kingston
The flood will sweep away all the pollution.
"Expositions of Holy Scripture" by Alexander Maclaren
It swept him down as the wind sweeps a straw.
"The Snowshoe Trail" by Edison Marshall
Hooliam looked on indifferently from the stern, idly swinging his great sweep back and forth.
"Two on the Trail" by Hulbert Footner
The officers sweep the horizon with their glasses, ranging around the circle where the two blues meet.
"The Flag of Distress" by Mayne Reid
The next few minutes were spent in sweeping the country round, and in a very short time they were pretty well acquainted with their position.
"The Peril Finders" by George Manville Fenn
I'll have no sweeps here.
"The Water-Babies" by Charles Kingsley
The two men there were swinging the light back and forth, sweeping the sky.
"The Fire People" by Ray Cummings
We now begin to catch a hint of the sweep of the poem in these portions.
"Homer's Odyssey" by Denton J. Snider
He laughed, delightedly, then brushed her aside with a sweep of his arm.
"The Fighting Edge" by William MacLeod Raine

In poetry:

I heard the wind sweep wild and wide,
I turned upon my face and sighed,
"Woman’s Portion" by Madison Julius Cawein
And the swift charger sweep
In full career,
Trampling thy place of sleep–
Why camest thou here?
"Woman On The Field Of Battle" by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
One vast wave of gladness
Sweeps its world-wide way,
Drowning every sadness
On this Christmas day.
"A Christmas Chant" by Abram Joseph Ryan
Alas! this jarring, broken lute
Alone remains to me!
In vain I sweep its chords so mute;
They wake no melody.
"On Recovering From Sickness" by Caroline Oliphant
"With tattered banners flying
With trail of dead and dying,
On! On! All hell defying,
The Legion sweeps the way."
"Kelly Of The Legion" by Robert W Service
God of our fathers,—in whose sight
The thousand years, that sweep away
Man, and the traces of his might,
Are but the break and close of day,—
"Hymns and Odes VII" by John Pierpont

In news:

A clean sweep 16 days ago.
The way players are dropping down in College Park, it's like the orthopedic version of typhoid fever is sweeping through this team.
The film is set in 1968 Detroit, where the Motown sound is sweeping the nation.
As CaroMania sweeps the land, a dip into the 'New York Now' archives.
Tdw Sweeps Hrv Hops In Hood River.
New York Enacts Sweeping Non-Attorney 'Notario' Disclaimer Law To Protect Consumers.
On Wednesday, the Police Association of New Orleans opened a public-relations offensive against sweeping changes the Mitch Landrieu administration is expected to seek this fall in the city's civil service and human resources systems.
Giants sweep Tigers, win World Series.
Host Yellow Jackets sweep Clear Fork.
Fox's decision on "Dollhouse" isn't a surprise, as the net had already yanked the show from its Friday slot during November sweeps.
Fox's decision on " Dollhouse " isn't a surprise, as the net had already yanked the show from its Friday slot during November sweeps.
Gregor Blanco and the Giants were on the verge of a sweep of the Tigers.
And Ellen Donker is sweeping off the porch of her house overlooking the Wabash River.
Early ratings from the all-important May sweeps suggest WTHR-TV Channel 13's 15-year reign as king of local television news is secure for now.
US Starts Freeing Foreigners Detained in Antiterror Sweep.

In science:

There we studied the relation between the relaxation rate and the sweeping velocity.
Nonexponential Relaxation of Magnetization at the Resonant Tunneling Point under a Fluctuating Random Noise
The time unit t is defined as a MC sweep over all spins on the lattice.
Critical dynamics and universality of the random-bond Potts ferromagnet with tri-distributed quenched disorders
Every sweep over the lattice generates an independent configuration and hence the correlation time is exactly zero.
An Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation of Statistical physics Problem
We study the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg (LZS) effect for a two-level system with a timedependent nonlinear bias field (the sweep function) W (t).
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect
The dimensionless quantity ε = π∆2/(2¯hv) depends on the coupling ∆ of both levels and on the sweep rate v .
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect