• The little chimney sweep, with his ragged clothes and brush
    The little chimney sweep, with his ragged clothes and brush
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj sweeping ignoring distinctions "sweeping generalizations","wholesale destruction"
    • adj sweeping taking in or moving over (or as if over) a wide area; often used in combination "a sweeping glance","a wide-sweeping view of the river"
    • n sweeping the act of cleaning with a broom
    • ***

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.
    • a Sweeping Cleaning off surfaces, or cleaning away dust, dirt, or litter, as a broom does; moving with swiftness and force; carrying everything before it; including in its scope many persons or things; as, a sweeping flood; a sweeping majority; a sweeping accusation.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sweeping The act of one who or that which sweeps, in any sense; also, the result of such act.
    • n sweeping plural Whatever is gathered together by or as by sweeping; rubbish; refuse.
    • n sweeping Specifically— In stereotyping and electrotyping, the bits of metal thrown on the floor by sawing- and planing-machines.
    • n sweeping In printing, the waste paper swept up from the floor of a press-room.
    • n sweeping In bookbinding, the bits of gold-leaf gathered up by the cotton cloth that is used to remove the surplus gold of a gilded book.
    • sweeping Carrying everything before it; overwhelming: as, a sweeping majority.
    • sweeping Including or comprehending many individuals or particulars in a single act or assertion; comprehensive; all-including: as, a sweeping charge; a sweeping declaration.
    • ***


  • 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.


In literature:

Sweeping all the view, I at last espied this fleet standing in to shore.
"The Aeneid of Virgil" by Virgil
We had described a sweeping curve right round the irregular edge of the undulating plateau.
"Across Unknown South America" by Arnold Henry Savage Landor
A Lewis Council of Appointment made a clean sweep of the Governor's enemies and of DeWitt Clinton's friends.
"A Political History of the State of New York, Volumes 1-3" by DeAlva Stanwood Alexander
Then he looked at the sullen youth who was sweeping up the fragments of the dishes.
"Joan of Arc of the North Woods" by Holman Day
This was called a sweep and mortar mill.
"Home Life in Colonial Days" by Alice Morse Earle
Sweeping as a fine art.
"Dave Darrin After The Mine Layers" by H. Irving Hancock
I should think it would bother anybody the way it was sweeping down last night.
"Laramie Holds the Range" by Frank H. Spearman
They cleared for a moment at a point to let the sunlight shafts illuminate some sweep of glacial ice.
"The Heart of Unaga" by Ridgwell Cullum
Her voice would sweep Bivens off his feet and charm the brilliant throng of guests.
"The Root of Evil" by Thomas Dixon
Outside, the wind was still sweeping the stinging snow before it like powder-driven shot.
"The Man from the Bitter Roots" by Caroline Lockhart

In poetry:

"And where, ye breezes balmy
That wandered vagrant here?
And where, oh sweep of heavens
So deep and blue and clear?
"A Tree In The Ghetto" by Morris Rosenfeld
Arise, arise! oh, sword! and sweep
One universal morn!
Another throe, thou labouring Deep,
And all the god is born!
"The Young Man's Song" by Sydney Thompson Dobell
Still you are weeping!
Why do you weep?--
Are tears in keeping
With joy so deep?
Gladness so sweeping?--
Are you asleep?
"One Day And Another: A Lyrical Eclogue – Part IV" by Madison Julius Cawein
We did not heed the sweeping
Of storm-bewildered rain;
Our cheeks were wet with weeping,
Our hearts were wrung with pain.
"Cross-Roads" by Mathilde Blind
But when I hear the wind sweep by
Or see the white clouds pass -
The spaces of the open sky -
Birds soaring o'er the grass -
"Wildness" by Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff
Mine ear has dwelt in silent awe,
The howling sweep, the sudden rush;
And when the passing gale
Pour'd deep the hollow dirge.
"To The Wind, At Midnight" by Henry Kirke White

In news:

Group unveils sweeping plans for project at Grand Canyon sacred site.
Sweeping changes in merchandising of cosmetics are coming -- and some supermarkets like H.E.
GIRLS' GOLF: Hart senior Jamie Corr sweeps Foothill League MVP, Newhall Cup.
Hayfield sweeps Winona Cotter .
Commodores finally crank up the power, complete sweep of Alabama.
Eastern Wayne teams sweep Kinston, West Craven .
There's a crime wave sweeping through … Saratoga Springs.
Lady Bruins rally to AAAA sweep.
The town has launched a final sweep of storm-related debris today.
Romney sweeps to Florida win over Gingrich.
Santorum sweeps Deep South primaries.
Mavericks Double Up 'Dogs to Earn Series Sweep.
The Cowden-Herrick Hornets hosted the Beecher City Eagles in their first home game of the season and earned the sweep.
Host Grinnell defeated East Marshall in Monday's non-conference volleyball match, sweeping the Mustangs 25-13, 25-5, 25-15.
Baylor softball sweeps in routs.

In science:

We will see that these singularities determine the large-ε dependence of P, for analytical sweep functions w(u).
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect
We consider for the beginning the simpler case of sweep functions that are non-analytic at crossing the resonance, u = 0, namely the power-law sweep functions of Eq. (13) with a general α.
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect
In the next subsection we will discuss sweep functions w(u) for which there is only one singularity, starting from the weakly nonlinear case.
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect
Let us consider at first sweep functions w(u) that are monotonic and close to the linear function, w(u) ≈ u.
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect
Let us at first calculate the exponent η for a weakly-nonlinear sweep described by Eq. (10).
Effects of nonlinear sweep in the Landau-Zener-Stueckelberg effect