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’
    • ‘Broad swathes of China's industrial heartland are now chronically short of electricity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In contrast, only modest efforts are now underway in the industry as a whole to integrate broad swaths of the enterprise.’
    • ‘A few areas cut across disciplines and require particularly broad, horizontal swaths of expertise.’
    • ‘But yesterday, red-faced officials admitted whole swathes were lifted word for word grammatical slips and all from a student thesis.’
    • ‘The ideological objection to legalisation is ugly and simple, and touches broader swathes of the world.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we made our way to Minj, emerald green tea plantations and broad swaths of coffee trees revealed evidence of foreign development.’
    • ‘‘It looks bad,’ she said, noting that huge swaths of the park appear to have been deforested.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Beginning in August, Florida was flattened by four successive hurricanes that ripped up broad swaths of the state.’
    • ‘Because of the willful collective historical and moral ignorance of vast swaths of the public and the opinion leaders who influence them.’
    • ‘Huge swathes of the area were masked under a pall of white smoke and a strong smell hung in the air.’
    • ‘Broad swaths of asphalt also fragment wildlife habitat and block migration corridors - and will eventually threaten populations isolated from food sources and potential mates.’
    • ‘In the fall of 2003, U.S. officials watched anxiously as a potent guerrilla resistance rose across broad swaths of northern and central Iraq.’
    • ‘Morganton's struggles are playing out not just across many other parts of North Carolina but also through swaths of the American heartland.’
    • ‘Raw materials were brought to the city from across the huge swathe of Northern England under Viking control in the 10th century.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2A row or line of grass, grain, or other crop as it lies when mown or reaped.

    • ‘It's a familiar scene in the country - a tractor chugging its way across a field mowing down swath after swath of green alfalfa.’
    • ‘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 involves natural-looking gardens and swathes of grasses mixed with drifts of perennials chosen for their shape, color and hardiness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Smith flashes a smile and scuffs his foot across a swath of browned grass where Greene and the other sprinters had vomited.’
    1. 2.1A 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Known as our first family of Celtic music, this band's roots go deep and wide and cut a swath across musical genres.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It cut a deadly swathe through the Philippines and Taiwan earlier in the week.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Along the wall, they has cleared a swath as wide as a football field, shearing off row after row of houses.’
      • ‘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.’


Old English swæth, swathu track, trace; 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.