One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural swaths, Plural swathes
1A broad strip or area of something.‘vast swaths of countryside’figurative ‘a significant swath of popular opinion’
2A row or line of grass, grain, or other crop as it lies when mown or reaped.‘swaths of barley’
- 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’
- 2.1 A strip left clear by the passage of a mowing machine or scythe.
cut a wide swath
Attract a great deal of attention by trying to impress others.
cut a swath through
Pass through (something) causing great damage, destruction, or change.‘a tornado cut a two-mile long swath through residential neighborhoods’
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.
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