Attested in English since 888 in its obsolete meaning of track or trace, since 1475 in its more modern usage. Cognate with German Schwaden (“row of mown grass or grain”).
No definite cognates outside Germanic languages.
swath (plural swaths)
- The track cut out by a scythe in mowing.
- (often figuratively) A broad sweep or expanse.
- Five days after Hurricane Katrina, large swaths of New Orleans, such as Canal Street seen here, are still submerged in water.
2015 February 20, Jesse Jackson, “In the Ferguson era, Malcolm X’s courage in fighting racism inspires more than ever”, The Guardian (London):
- It is undeniable that Malcolm was a beacon of huge strength in his lifetime. He could connect with swaths of people when others could not.
To be distinguished from main meanings of swathe, but that is also an alternative spelling for this word.