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at one fell swoop

All at once, with a single decisive or powerful action. When the economy crashed, thousands lost their jobs, their homes, and their pensions at one fell swoop.
See also: fell, one, swoop

in one fell swoop

All at once, with a single decisive or powerful action. When the economy crashed, thousands lost their jobs, their homes, and their pensions in one fell swoop.
See also: fell, one, swoop

at one fell swoop

 and in one fell swoop
Fig. in a single incident; as a single event. (This phrase preserves the old word fell, meaning "terrible" or "deadly.") The party guests ate up all the snacks at one fell swoop. When the stock market crashed, many large fortunes were wiped out in one fell swoop.
See also: fell, one, swoop

swoop down (up)on someone or something

1. Lit. to dive or plunge downward on someone or something. The eagle swooped down upon the lamb.
2. Fig. [for someone] to pounce on and consume something. The children swooped down on the ice cream and cake.
See also: down, on, swoop

one fell swoop, in

Also at one fell swoop. All at once, in a single action, as in This law has lifted all the controls on cable TV in one fell swoop. This term was used and probably invented by Shakespeare in Macbeth (4:3), where the playwright likens the murder of Macduff's wife and children to a hawk swooping down on defenseless prey. Although fell here means "cruel" or "ruthless," this meaning has been lost in the current idiom, where it now signifies "sudden."
See also: fell, one

in (or at) one fell swoop

all in one go.
This expression comes from Macduff's appalled reaction to the murder of his wife and children in Shakespeare's Macbeth: ‘Oh hell-kite!…All my pretty chickens, and their dam At one fell swoop?’
See also: fell, one, swoop

at/in one fell ˈswoop

with a single action or movement; all at the same time: Only a foolish politician would promise to lower the rate of inflation and reduce unemployment at one fell swoop.
See also: fell, one, swoop

swoop down

To make a rush or an attack with or as if with a sudden sweeping movement: An owl swooped down on the rabbit.
See also: down, swoop

one fell swoop

A single and rapid act. “Fell” comes from an Old English word for frightful and “swoop” describes the way hawks and other birds of prey drop out of the sky to capture their victims. Accordingly, something that is done “in one fell swoop,” whether or not it is awful, happens with no hesitation. Shakespeare coined the phrase in Macbeth, where the character Macduff laments the murders of his wife and children with “What, all my pretty chick- ens and their dam / At one fell swoop?”
See also: fell, one, swoop
References in periodicals archive ?
The safety of our people is paramount to Royal Mail and these swooping attacks have made it difficult for the postman to continue to do his job.
MY WEEK Punting high Santo Padre swooping late in the Portland Punting low Darley Sun getting swooped on late in the Doncaster Cup Looking forward to the NFL season.
POLICE swooping on a suspected drug dealer also found a sword and live ammunition hidden in his home, a court heard.
CUSTOMS officers seized nearly 7,000 smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes after swooping on shops.
About 125 million years before the two airmen lifted off at Kitty Hawk in their biplane, a 1-meter-long dinosaur was swooping from tree to tree with the same arrangement of wings, a new study suggests.
Police recaptured Craig Hickinbottom, 25, after swooping on a house a mile from where his getaway car was found.
The 10 local governments that control Metro's funds are resisting the idea of rewarding poor management with more cash, but the feds may be swooping in to help.
We developed an informational kit on signage for locations where birds tend to swoop and an "eyes" sticker that can be placed on the back of a hat or bike helmet as a deterrent to swooping birds (birds swoop from behind and don't like to be looked at when swooping
The birds will display their prowess and grace, swooping from the castle's towers and ramparts in a breath-taking demonstration twice daily
As an interim solution for Disney Hall, a gray mesh fabric was placed over one swooping and curved tower across the street from the Promenade.
POLICE say young people could be getting the message that Nuneaton town centre is a no-go area for drug use after swooping on pubs and clubs for the second time in two weeks.
They tracked the pirates to Pakistan and Afghanistan before swooping on sweat- shop factories to close the operation.
Then she lunges into the air and performs her favorite stunt, the Rodeo flip--a 720-degree sideways somersault--before swooping down into the pipe and up the opposite wall again.
The swooping beams have top and bottom booms of laminated timber connected by paired plywood webs.
Swinging from ropes and harnesses the dancers form fantastic patterns before swooping across the stage and out over the audience.