When you swipe something, you move it in a sweeping motion, like the way you swipe your credit card through a reader. Swipe can also mean "to steal," like when your little sisters swipe the cookies you baked before they cool.

You might swipe at the mosquitos buzzing around your head at a summer picnic, or swipe your finger across a touchscreen to sign for a purchase. When used to mean "steal," swipe is a gentle kind of verb: it's not quite "burglarize," but closer to "sneak off with." This newer meaning comes from American prison slang, first appearing in the 1880s.

Definitions of swipe

n a sweeping stroke or blow

Type of:
shot, stroke
(sports) the act of swinging or striking at a ball with a club or racket or bat or cue or hand

v strike with a swiping motion

Type of:
deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument

v make off with belongings of others

abstract, cabbage, filch, hook, lift, nobble, pilfer, pinch, purloin, snarf, sneak
Type of:
take without the owner's consent

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