swoop(redirected from swooping)
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at one fell swoopand 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.
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.
in one fell swoop
all at the same time I prefer to see someone in charge so we can deal with everything in one fell swoop.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of fell swoop (a quick, sudden downward movement by an attacking bird)
at/in one fell swoop
if you do something at one fell swoop, you do everything you have to do at the same time I'd prefer to do the paperwork in one fell swoop. At least then we know it's finished with.
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."
To make a rush or an attack with or as if with a sudden sweeping movement: An owl swooped down on the rabbit.
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?”