Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Mid 17th century (in the sense 'mop for cleaning the decks'): back-formation from Middle English swabber (“sailor detailed to swab decks”), from early modern Dutch zwabber, from a Germanic base meaning 'splash' or 'sway'.
swab (plural swabs)
- (medicine) a small piece of soft, absorbent material, such as gauze, used to clean wounds, apply medicine, or take samples of body fluids. Often attached to a stick or wire to aid access.
- A sample taken with a swab (1).
- A piece of material used for cleaning or sampling other items like musical instruments or guns.
- A mop, especially on a ship.
- (slang) A sailor; a swabby.
- (sailor): swabby
a small piece of soft, absorbent material
A sample taken with a swab
A piece of material used for cleaning or sampling other items like musical instruments or guns