Definition of swarf in US English:



  • Fine chips or filings of stone, metal, or other material produced by a machining operation.

    ‘a curl of metal swarf’
    • ‘Grinding, for a variety of reasons (e.g., speed of operation; coolant and swarf handling; wheel cost), can be an expensive operation.’
    • ‘There is a perception is that engineering is still cloth caps, oily rags, swarf and metal bashing - however, it isn't like that.’
    • ‘When we first arrived at one of the designated factories and saw wing struts being milled out of solid slabs of Aluminium on a milling machine 80 metres long, I was gobsmacked - swarf and shiny metal everywhere.’
    • ‘The swarf became hot and started to steam, so the loading master called Essex Fire and Rescue Service, who dealt with the incident.’
    • ‘For holes of a depth greater than five diameters, it is helpful to retract the drill at intervals and clear the swarf.’
    • ‘Using metal scrap and the steel swarf turned out from munition factories, blending in nickel, vanadium and manganese they created the high-speed tool steels that the arms factories were crying out for.’


Mid 16th century: either from Old English geswearf ‘filings’ or from Old Norse svarf ‘file dust’.