What Does Sweep Mean? Clean Up Your Knowledge Today!

Have you ever wondered what the word ‘sweep’ means? If you’re not sure, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. The word ‘sweep’ has multiple meanings, which can be confusing. In this article, we’re going to explore the different definitions of the word ‘sweep’ and how it’s used in everyday language. Let’s get started!

The Definition of Sweep

At its core, the word ‘sweep’ refers to the action of using a broom or brush to clean a surface by removing debris or dirt. However, this is just one of the many ways that ‘sweep’ can be used. Let’s take a look at some of the other meanings of the word ‘sweep’.

To Win by a Large Margin

One of the most common ways that ‘sweep’ is used is to describe a situation where a team or individual has won a series of games or competitions by a large margin. For example, if a baseball team wins all four games in a tournament, it’s said that they have swept the series. In this context, ‘sweep’ means to win with ease or to dominate the competition.

To Clean or Clear a Space

‘Sweep’ can also be used to describe the act of clearing a space or cleaning up an area. For example, if you’re tidying your room and you put all the books back on the shelf, you’ve swept the floor. In this context, ‘sweep’ means to tidy up or to put things away.

To Cover a Wide Area

Another way that ‘sweep’ is used is to describe covering a wide area. This often refers to a person or object moving in a wide arc or circle. For example, if a searchlight is moving from side to side, it’s said to sweep the area with light. In this context, ‘sweep’ means to cover or move across a wide area.

To Carry Something Away

‘Sweep’ can also refer to the act of carrying something away with a strong or swift movement. For example, if a river is sweeping debris downstream, it means that the current is strong enough to move large objects. In this context, ‘sweep’ means to carry or move something away.

Sweep in Idiomatic Expressions

Another interesting aspect of the word ‘sweep’ is that it’s often used in idiomatic expressions, which means that the meaning of the phrase is different than the literal meaning of the words. Let’s take a look at some common idiomatic expressions that use ‘sweep’.

To Sweep Under the Rug

The phrase ‘to sweep under the rug’ means to try to hide something, usually a problem or issue, by not addressing it directly. For example, if a manager knows that there is a problem in their department but ignores it, they’re said to be sweeping it under the rug. In this context, ‘sweep’ means to hide or conceal.

To Sweep Someone Off Their Feet

If someone says that they were swept off their feet, it means that they were overwhelmed by a sudden, intense feeling, usually in a romantic context. For example, if you fell in love with someone the first time you met them, you might say that they swept you off your feet. In this context, ‘sweep’ means to overwhelm or captivate.

Why the Word ‘Sweep’ Matters

Now that we’ve explored the different meanings of the word ‘sweep’, you might be wondering why it matters. Why should we care about the different definitions of a single word? The answer is simple: language is a fundamental part of our lives, and understanding the nuances of words like ‘sweep’ can help us communicate more effectively.

When we use language, we’re not just conveying information; we’re also expressing how we feel, what we believe, and what our values are. The words we choose, and the meanings they carry, have the power to connect us with others or to create misunderstandings.

By understanding the multiple meanings of a word like ‘sweep’, we can avoid confusion or miscommunication. If someone says that they’re going to sweep the room, we’ll know that they’re talking about cleaning, rather than winning a competition.


We hope that this article has helped you understand the different meanings of the word ‘sweep’ and how it’s used in idiomatic expressions. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.

Common Questions About ‘Sweep’

  • What does it mean to sweep a floor?

    To sweep a floor means to clean it using a broom or brush to remove any dirt or debris.

  • What does it mean to sweep a series?

    To sweep a series means to win all of the games or competitions in the series by a large margin.

  • What does it mean to sweep something under the rug?

    To sweep something under the rug means to try to hide it or ignore it by not addressing it directly.


  • ‘Sweep.’ Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweep.
  • ‘The Meaning of Sweep.’ Vocabulary.com, www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/sweep.

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