to sweep through the air, as a bird or a bat, especially down upon prey.
to come down upon something in a sudden, swift attack (often followed by down and on or upon):
The army swooped down on the town.
to take, lift, scoop up, or remove with or as with one sweeping motion (often followed by up, away, or off):
He swooped her up in his arms.
an act or instance of swooping; a sudden, swift descent.
at / in one fell swoop, all at once or all together, as if by one blow:
The quake flattened the houses at one fell swoop.
(intransitive; usually foll by down, on, or upon) to sweep or pounce suddenly
(transitive; often foll by up, away, or off) to seize or scoop suddenly
the act of swooping
a swift descent
1560s, “to move or walk in a stately manner,” apparently from a dialectal survival of Old English swapan “to sweep, brandish, dash,” from Proto-Germanic *swaipanan, from PIE root *swei- “to swing, bend, to turn.” Meaning “pounce upon with a sweeping movement” first recorded 1630s. Spelling with -oo- may have been influenced by Scottish and northern England dialectal soop “to sweep,” from Old Norse sopa “to sweep.” Related: Swooped; swooping.
1540s, from swoop (v.). Phrase one fell swoop is from Shakespeare.
Oh, Hell-Kite! All? What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme, At one fell swoope? [“Macbeth,” IV.iii.219]
see: one fell swoop
see: one fell swoop
- At one blow
a sudden, hard stroke with a hand, fist, or weapon: a blow to the head. a sudden shock, calamity, reversal, etc.: His wife’s death was a terrible blow to him. a sudden attack or drastic action: The invaders struck a blow to the south. at one blow, with a single act: He became wealthy and […]
- At the expense of
cost or charge: the expense of a good meal. a cause or occasion of spending: A car can be a great expense. the act of expending; expenditure. expenses. charges incurred during a business assignment or trip. money paid as reimbursement for such charges: to receive a salary and expenses. to charge or write off as […]
- At the hands of
the terminal, prehensile part of the upper limb in humans and other primates, consisting of the wrist, metacarpal area, fingers, and thumb. the corresponding part of the forelimb in any of the higher vertebrates. a terminal prehensile part, as the chela of a crustacean, or, in falconry, the foot of a falcon. something resembling a […]
- At the helm
In charge, in command, as in With Charles at the helm, the company is bound to prosper. This phrase transfers the idea of steering a ship to directing other enterprises. [ Early 1500s ] Also see: the synonym at the wheel