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
  1. noun
    a sweeping stroke or blow
    see moresee less
    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
  2. verb
    strike with a swiping motion
    see moresee less
    type of:
    deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument
  3. verb
    make off with belongings of others
    synonyms: abstract, cabbage, filch, hook, lift, nobble, pilfer, pinch, purloin, snarf, sneak
    see moresee less
    type of:
    take without the owner's consent
Word Family