Definition of swath in English:


(also swathe)


  • 1A broad strip or area of something.

    ‘vast swaths of countryside’
    figurative ‘a significant swath of popular opinion’
    • ‘Well we must wait to see the reaction to Space for Nature, especially as the project aims to expand and purchase large swaths of valuable forested areas in South Bohemia and Moravia.’
    • ‘Beginning in August, Florida was flattened by four successive hurricanes that ripped up broad swaths of the state.’
    • ‘Broad swathes of China's industrial heartland are now chronically short of electricity.’
    • ‘In 164 photographs, taken during a trip from the coast inland, he examines the results of generations of logging that have left swaths of barren landscape where lush rain forests once grew.’
    • ‘The mass media provided the means to promote those brands: television and radio networks, magazines, and newspapers that reached vast swaths of the public simply and efficiently.’
    • ‘A few areas cut across disciplines and require particularly broad, horizontal swaths of expertise.’
    • ‘Morganton's struggles are playing out not just across many other parts of North Carolina but also through swaths of the American heartland.’
    • ‘In the fall of 2003, U.S. officials watched anxiously as a potent guerrilla resistance rose across broad swaths of northern and central Iraq.’
    • ‘The ideological objection to legalisation is ugly and simple, and touches broader swathes of the world.’
    • ‘‘It looks bad,’ she said, noting that huge swaths of the park appear to have been deforested.’
    • ‘Raw materials were brought to the city from across the huge swathe of Northern England under Viking control in the 10th century.’
    • ‘Because of the willful collective historical and moral ignorance of vast swaths of the public and the opinion leaders who influence them.’
    • ‘But yesterday, red-faced officials admitted whole swathes were lifted word for word grammatical slips and all from a student thesis.’
    • ‘As we made our way to Minj, emerald green tea plantations and broad swaths of coffee trees revealed evidence of foreign development.’
    • ‘It reserved special scorn for the General Mining Law of 1872, which has handed over huge swaths of public land to miners since it was instituted.’
    • ‘Broad swaths of asphalt also fragment wildlife habitat and block migration corridors - and will eventually threaten populations isolated from food sources and potential mates.’
    • ‘Huge swathes of the area were masked under a pall of white smoke and a strong smell hung in the air.’
    • ‘Even if the refuge is protected, which looks likely, the energy bill still could still open vast swaths of other public lands to for-profit exploitation.’
    • ‘In contrast, only modest efforts are now underway in the industry as a whole to integrate broad swaths of the enterprise.’
    • ‘Planting of cork oak, fig and magnolia grandiflora, for example, will contribute bold structure and varied foliage, while colour will be provided by broad swathes of woodland perennials.’
  • 2A row or line of grass, grain, or other crop as it lies when mown or reaped.

    • ‘A device on a mobile agricultural machine for contactless scanning of contours extending over the ground, such as the contour of a swath of crop material.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘It's a familiar scene in the country - a tractor chugging its way across a field mowing down swath after swath of green alfalfa.’
    • ‘It involves natural-looking gardens and swathes of grasses mixed with drifts of perennials chosen for their shape, color and hardiness.’
    • ‘Smith flashes a smile and scuffs his foot across a swath of browned grass where Greene and the other sprinters had vomited.’
    1. 2.1 A strip left clear by the passage of a mowing machine or scythe.
      ‘the combine had cut a deep swath around the border of the fields’
      • ‘An ugly swathe has been cut through the magnificent forest opposite the McGarry farm.’
      • ‘Along the wall, they has cleared a swath as wide as a football field, shearing off row after row of houses.’
      • ‘Known as our first family of Celtic music, this band's roots go deep and wide and cut a swath across musical genres.’
      • ‘It cut a deadly swathe through the Philippines and Taiwan earlier in the week.’
      • ‘So when the government decided to cut a swath of Tunbury and some adjacent woods to expand a major highway, it took the trouble to ensure that the dormice- and part of the forest itself-were both moved to new locations nearby.’
      • ‘At that point in time, it moved north through Mississippi, cutting a swath from one side of Mississippi to the other, which destroyed the coast of Mississippi and all of the infrastructure in the first three miles.’
      • ‘The well known eccentric says the machine is perfectly safe: it cuts a swathe about the width of a lawn mower and at the same time burns the grass, making laborious collection of the clippings unnecessary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We stood in the middle of the road, and looked at the machines, the torn-up swath sixty feet wide, at the trees on fire, the smoke rolling, the mud, the whole mess.’
      • ‘For major roads they cleared swathes as wide as the distance of two cannon shots.’
      • ‘In the background, the soon-to-be evacuated red-roofed villas of Dugit were visible, amidst swathes of razed farmland.’


  • cut a wide swath

    • Attract a great deal of attention by trying to impress others.

      • ‘His repertoire cuts a wide swath, from low key ‘still waters’ styles to edgy creations with unmistakable attitude.’
      • ‘This area will cut a wide swathe along largely low-lying land from the Route K roundabout to behind Tauriko township.’
      • ‘Blockhead's instrumentals cut a wide swath away from his other contemporaries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The public personas of some writers cut a wide swath through the publishing world.’
      • ‘Now soy devotees are making more health claims - not approved by a government agency but based on dozens of scientific studies - that soy cuts a wide swath of health benefits flint shouldn't be ignored.’
      • ‘Tavisome and Brodde in front of me have spread out to nearly a sword's length apart, and are cutting a wide swath through the enemy.’
      • ‘While focusing on a narrowly defined data set, he manages to produce a volume that cuts a wide swath through the history of the motion picture industry.’
      • ‘So, when you think about, it really cuts a wide swathe of people.’
      • ‘While they can't be used when you're standing or running, once they've been set in place, they can cut a wide swath across a battlefield with the high rate of fire.’
  • cut a swath through

    • Pass through (something) causing great damage, destruction, or change.

      ‘a tornado cut a two-mile long swath through residential neighborhoods’
      • ‘For reinstall and reformat like the champions of old had cut a wide swath across the plains and laid waste to the evil of the registry which had existed.’
      • ‘Shortly thereafter, she'd begun to rent a small house near where much of the earlier destruction had cut a swath through the town.’
      • ‘In many African communities where AIDS has cut a swath through the young adult population, the older generation is caring for its grown-up children and their children.’
      • ‘Increasing numbers of ticks have cut a swath through the young grouse populations.’
      • ‘Another shell burst overhead, cutting a swath through the scattered ranks of brown greatcoats.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He said the Environment Canada reports reinforces his perception that the province was lax in its preparation for the hurricane, which cut a wide swath of destruction across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.’
      • ‘This period of relative tranquility ended around 1240, when Tartar invaders were cutting a swath through Europe.’
      • ‘Although there have been many protests as the giant fence cuts a swathe through communities and farmland, the ultra orthodox ruling tyke party vowed to continue the construction.’


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.