—v.t. 1. to move or remove (dust, dirt, etc.) with or as if with a broom, brush, or the like.
2. to clear or clean (a floor, room, chimney, etc.) of dirt, litter, or the like, by means of a broom or brush.
3. to drive or carry by some steady force, as of a wind or wave: The wind swept the snow into drifts. 4. to pass or draw (something) over a surface with a continuous stroke or movement: The painter swept a brush over his canvas. 5. to make (a path, opening, etc.) by clearing a space with or as if with a broom.
6. to clear (a surface, place, etc.) of something on or in it (often fol. by of): to sweep a sea of enemy ships. 7. to pass over (a surface, region, etc.) with a steady, driving movement or unimpeded course, as winds, floods, etc.: sandstorms sweeping the plains. 8. to search (an area or building) thoroughly: Soldiers swept the town, looking for deserters. 9. to pass the gaze, eyes, etc., over (a region, area, etc.): His eyes swept the countryside. 10. to direct (the eyes, gaze, etc.) over a region, surface, or the like: He swept his eyes over the countryside. 11. to examine electronically, as to search for a hidden listening device.
12. to win a complete or overwhelming victory in (a contest): Johnson swept the presidential election of 1964. 13. to win (every game, round, hand, etc., of a series of contests): The Yankees swept the three-game series. 14. Music. a. to pass the fingers or bow over (a musical instrument, its strings or keys, etc.), as in playing.
b. to bring forth (music) thus.
—v.i. 1. to sweep a floor, room, etc., with or as if with a broom: The new broom sweeps well. 2. to move steadily and strongly or swiftly (usually fol. by along, down, by, into, etc.).
3. to move or pass in a swift but stately manner: Proudly, she swept from the room. 4. to move, pass, or extend in a continuous course, esp. a wide curve or circuit: His glance swept around the room. 5. to conduct an underwater search by towing a drag under the surface of the water.
6. Aeron.(of an airfoil or its leading or trailing edge) to project from the fuselage at an angle rearward or forward of a line perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft.
—n. 1. the act of sweeping, esp. a moving, removing, clearing, etc., by or as if by the use of a broom: to give the house a good sweep. 2. the steady, driving motion or swift onward course of something moving with force or without interruption: the sweep of the wind and the waves. 3. an examination by electronic detection devices of a room or building to determine the presence of hidden listening devices.
4. a swinging or curving movement or stroke, as of the arm, a weapon, an oar, etc.
5. reach, range, or compass, as of something sweeping about: the sweep of a road about a marsh. 6. a continuous extent or stretch: a broad sweep of sand. 7. a curving, esp. widely or gently curving, line, form, part, or mass.
8. matter removed or gathered by sweeping.
9. Also called well sweep. a leverlike device for raising or lowering a bucket in a well.
10. a large oar used in small vessels, sometimes to assist the rudder or to propel the craft.
11. an overwhelming victory in a contest.
12. a winning of all the games, rounds, hands, prizes, etc., in a contest by one contestant.
13. Football.See end run. 14. one of the sails of a windmill.
15. Agric.any of the detachable triangular blades on a cultivator.
16. Chiefly Brit.a person employed to clean by sweeping, esp. a chimney sweeper.
17. Cards. a. Whist.the winning of all the tricks in a hand. Cf. slam2 (def. 1).
b. Casino. a pairing or combining, and hence taking, of all the cards on the board.
18. Physics.an irreversible process tending towards thermal equilibrium.
Pronunciation: (swēp),[key] —n.Slang. a sweepstakes. Also,sweeps.