—n. 1. a large mop used on shipboard for cleaning decks, living quarters, etc.
2. a bit of sponge, cloth, cotton, or the like, sometimes fixed to a stick, for cleansing the mouth of a sick person or for applying medicaments, drying areas, etc.
3. the material collected with a swab as a specimen for microscopic study.
4. a brush or wad of absorbent material for cleaning the bore of a firearm.
5. Slang.a sailor; swabby.
6. Slang.a clumsy fellow.
—v.t. 1. to clean with or as if with a swab: to swab the decks. 2. to take up or apply, as moisture, with or as if with a swab: to swab soapy water from the decks. 3. to pass over a surface: to swab a mop over the decks.Also,swob.