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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English swathen, from Old English swaþian, of obscure origin.



swathe (plural swathes)

  1. A bandage; a band


swathe (third-person singular simple present swathes, present participle swathing, simple past and past participle swathed)

  1. To bind with a swathe, band, bandage, or rollers
    • Archbishop Abbot
      Their children are never swathed or bound about with anything when they are first born.
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 4
      The head was swathed in linen bands that had been white, but were now stained and discoloured with damp, but of this I shall not speak more, and beneath the chin-cloth the beard had once escaped.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English swæþ (track, trace)


swathe (plural swathes)

  1. (chiefly British) Alternative spelling of swath
    • 2011 October 23, Phil McNulty, “Man Utd 1 - 6 Man City”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      United's stature is such that one result must not bring the immediate announcement of a shift in the balance of power in Manchester - but the swathes of empty seats around Old Trafford and the wave of attacks pouring towards David de Gea's goal in the second half emphasised that City quite simply have greater firepower and talent in their squad at present.
  2. (chiefly Britain, usually in the plural) A group of people
    Large swathes will be affected by the tax increase.