Definition of sweeping in US English:



  • 1Extending or performed in a long, continuous curve.

    ‘sweeping, desolate moorlands’
    ‘a smooth sweeping motion’
    • ‘He throws an overhand curve and a sweeping curve, both of which top out at 78 mph.’
    • ‘In the third square, I used a slow, careful sweeping motion, filling in the small areas afterward.’
    • ‘The popular Albert Park circuit is a street track which goes through a leafy park, combining fast corners and tight hairpins along with sweeping curves.’
    • ‘Use a sweeping motion so no air bubbles are trapped beneath the laminate.’
    • ‘They flow with gentle curves and long, sweeping tails.’
    • ‘Tilting your spine to the right helps shallow out your downswing and allows you to make contact with a sweeping motion, hitting up on the ball.’
    • ‘A rich brew of extended lines, sweeping curves, off-kilter balances, de Schynkel's vocabulary is expressive without being literal.’
    • ‘This was previously Ben Stevenson's place, she says, her buff arms extending in a sweeping motion to encompass the townhouse living room.’
    • ‘High above Kresna, we were following a trail through the foothills of Pirin, and were being treated to a sweeping panorama that seemingly extended all the way to Greece.’
    • ‘The aggressive front end with its big grille and air-scoop gave way to sweeping compound curves as you moved towards the rear of the car.’
    • ‘Changes in specification and design have led to expensive redesigns, and the sweeping curves of the original design have proved difficult to build.’
    • ‘A sweeping curve seems to defy what a golf shot should be able to do.’
    • ‘The road should have as broad, sweeping curves as the site will allow.’
    • ‘‘Look, I think I'll just come back later,’ I interrupted with a sweeping motion of my hand.’
    • ‘Taking off on the left foot, he/she completes a continuous, sweeping overhead arc toward the basket.’
    • ‘With a continuous sweeping glass window running the length of the bar, Sky offers one of the finest views in Vienna.’
    • ‘His leg thrashes in a violent sweeping motion - much like one would move one's leg if one were lying prone in the snow making angels.’
    • ‘Above each design they make a mark with an nkunia and a sweeping motion of a machete.’
    • ‘For instance, I used lots of daylilies which I staggered in a sweeping curve.’
    • ‘It is also easy to see the futility and ineffective nature of S curves and sweeping actions that use the smaller muscles of the arm and forearm to accomplish the task.’
    broad, extensive, expansive, vast, spacious, roomy, boundless, panoramic
    View synonyms
  • 2Wide in range or effect.

    ‘we cannot recommend any sweeping alterations’
    • ‘The government plans to give sweeping powers to a wide range of organisations to spy on us.’
    • ‘After being in office for just ten days, he signed into law a sweeping range of measures authorising the imposition of martial law over the country.’
    • ‘Radical, sweeping changes are riskier but often more effective, because they quickly yield benefits visible to everyone.’
    • ‘The authors have sweeping change in mind: Alterations must be made to every corporate function, from product development to sales and marketing.’
    • ‘It is worth a read because the regulator has wide and sweeping powers to issue directions to an ADI to enforce prudential standards and performance.’
    • ‘The proposal makes sweeping, radical changes in the law, but the regulatory analysis does not reflect them.’
    • ‘There is a well-known method for examining deaths involving a range of sweeping issues - the provincial inquest system.’
    • ‘Analysts say sweeping tax reform that comes into effect in January 2002 is another key factor.’
    • ‘He gestured with the knife in a wide sweeping move, and from between the pillars, several dozen young people entered the circle.’
    • ‘One might think that the authors of the report, in light of the disaster which they describe, would call for sweeping and far-reaching action by the world community to fight the epidemic.’
    • ‘The court's decisions range from the sweeping to the minute.’
    • ‘He said the Government was likely to order a full public enquiry before deciding whether to give the sweeping extension scheme the go-ahead.’
    • ‘The objectives are specific and measurable, covering a sweeping range of prevention strategies.’
    • ‘But they have also strengthened the obstacles to the kind of sweeping reform that could be produced by an effective voucher system.’
    • ‘After the 1997 attack in Luxor, Mr. Mubarak's government launched a sweeping crackdown against Muslim radicals opposed to his rule.’
    • ‘And those who raised concerns about the sweeping powers of the bill were unfairly dismissed as radicals who were against copyright in general.’
    • ‘Nasa had hoped to launch the shuttle again next spring but the target date could now be missed as sweeping changes are put in place to radically improve safety and re-shape the agency.’
    • ‘The Executive has proposed the two routes to Rotherham as part of a sweeping extension of the popular Supertram system.’
    • ‘Berlusconi then reverted to his normal strategy by pleading for several more years to put into effect the sweeping reforms he had promised on his election.’
    • ‘But a reshuffle would only have these effects if it took the form of sweeping changes - most unlike Ahern.’
    extensive, wide-ranging, global, broad, wide, comprehensive, all-inclusive, all-embracing, far-reaching, across the board, worldwide, catholic, exhaustive, pervasive
    overwhelming, decisive, thorough, complete, total, absolute, out-and-out, thoroughgoing, unconditional, unlimited, unrestricted, unqualified, plenary
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (of a statement) taking no account of particular cases or exceptions; too general.
      ‘a sweeping assertion’
      • ‘So I made some vague, sweeping statements, as usual, and Meg made them into code and pictures and layout.’
      • ‘Ojha is particularly convincing as the fast-talking Bobby, and his quick-fire exchanges with Rann are rich with theatrical sweeping statements and blithe assurance.’
      • ‘However, for her to make the sweeping statements she does about ‘derisory service’ by the whole Health Service is illogical, irresponsible and untrue.’
      • ‘The result is a number of sweeping statements that are asserted but not demonstrated.’
      • ‘This is a sweeping statement and perhaps worthy of some explanation.’
      • ‘But this is a sweeping statement, instantly challengeable.’
      • ‘Making a generalised and sweeping statement on every politician and the whole system was an irresponsible act.’
      • ‘Simple arguments, sensational media, and corporate charlatans are all guilty of these kind of sweeping statements - I call it myth making.’
      • ‘It was such a sweeping statement that one wonders just why the president floated it at this time.’
      • ‘I can think of no good reason to make such a sweeping statement without sound argument to back it up.’
      • ‘I suppose there must be plenty of counterexamples to such a sweeping statement, but none occur to me offhand.’
      • ‘There's a few sweeping statements in there that would not stand up to scrutiny.’
      • ‘Usually these these theories come from people who don't follow the sport week in, week out, but rather drop in every so often to make bold, sweeping statements.’
      • ‘There was a general sweeping statement, because, of course, it does not have the World Health Organization findings.’
      • ‘We were looking for someone willing to make a sweeping statement announcing the Texans had arrived and that the play-offs were just around the corner.’
      • ‘They make sweeping statements and exaggerated charges on the basis of a very limited understanding of the issues they are discussing.’
      • ‘Culvert says that they haven't treated enough hepatitis patients to make any sweeping statements.’
      • ‘This not only has led to sweeping statements, but also to a misunderstanding of the Safavid political system and economy, and also to many factual mistakes.’
      • ‘The only possible exception to this sweeping statement would be Karl Marx - and Marx himself was heavily influenced by Hegel.’
      • ‘Does it engage in systematic field research and does it avoid sweeping comments, except to the degree that these are sustained by its detailed findings through field research?’
      wholesale, blanket, over-general, general, inclusive, all-inclusive, unqualified, indiscriminate, universal, oversimplified, imprecise
      View synonyms


  • Dirt or refuse collected by sweeping.

    ‘the sweepings from the house’
    • ‘This tall, narrow 13-by - 4-foot drawing scrolls from ceiling to floor, where it curls slightly, and is held in place by a slurry of grimy studio sweepings.’
    • ‘Carbohydrate sources of commercial pet food may consist of grain factory waste (i.e., dust, floor sweepings and husks.)’
    • ‘It's like the sweepings of the monumental studio, the stuff they didn't want to put in the official state monument.’
    • ‘The company subsequently claimed it had permitted the council to deposit road sweepings and soil in the Blessington quarry.’
    • ‘They mix the sweepings in with the grain to make additional profit.’
    • ‘Partly because he did lots of sweeping but I hadn't ever seen him with a trolley or bag to put the sweepings into and partly because of his manner of sweeping.’
    • ‘I realize there may be a number of urban gardeners who, for a small fee, would be more than happy to set me up with some sweepings from their grow-op.’
    • ‘Grading land with yard rubbish, sweepings, and other refuse also planted weeds and seeds on vacant land.’
    • ‘Coffee is regularly contaminated with unappetising detritus ranging from floor sweepings and twigs to poisonous, mouldy coffee beans.’
    • ‘Pressed peanut sweepings may a vital ingredient of one of Homer Simpson's favorite snacks, but that doesn't hold true for most of us.’
    • ‘Please note that road or yard sweepings are not to be placed in the skip.’
    • ‘I became aware of a rush broom in a far corner and, hung along the wall, bags of sweepings.’
    • ‘I'm sure floor sweepings swept out doors and vacuum cleaner dust spilt outside also have these threads in them and tangle in wagtails' feet.’
    • ‘All the stray pellets - which mariners call sweepings or spillage - had to be cleaned out and dumped.’
    • ‘As for the word itself, not only has smeddum ceased to be the sweepings off the mill floor, it is now one of the most valued qualities of the Scots character.’
    • ‘And he walked right through my sweepings. ‘Look at this stuff,’ he said, kicking it away.’’
    • ‘They even examined floor sweepings from tombs and living areas.’
    • ‘The sweepings are from a previous search in February 2003 which has already been dealt with by the court.’
    • ‘Sadly, if it continues, that is what is threatening to become of the great Liberal Party tradition: a cold-hearted butcher to the withering slab of the Australian body, and the public get sausages for policy from the sweepings off the floor.’
    • ‘The vegetable garden at Drummuir near Huntly is maintained along organic lines and sweepings from the local hairdressers have been used for several years as an effective pest deterrent.’
    debris, waste, waste matter, discarded matter, refuse, rubbish, litter, scrap, flotsam and jetsam, lumber, rubble, wreckage
    View synonyms