cut a (wide) swath, to

cut a (wide) swath

1. To garner attention. Cindy is such a talented designer that I'm sure her gowns will cut a swath in the fashion world.
2. To cause a lot of damage or suffering in a specific area or population. It seems that the high winds cut a wide swath through our neighborhood last night, blowing down trees and power lines on nearly every street. Severe malnourishment has certainly cut a swath through this part of the globe.
See also: cut, swath
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cut a (wide) swath, to

To make a showy display, to attract attention. The term originated in America and comes from mowing, a “swath” being the amount cut by one big sweep of the scythe. It was transferred to human showoffs by the mid-nineteenth century. “How he was a strutting up the sidewalk—didn’t he cut a swath!” wrote Ann S. Stephens in High Life in New York (1843). It is heard less often today, but has not quite died out.
See also: cut, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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