cut a swathe through

cut a swath through (something)

To cause a lot of damage or suffering in a specific area or population. It seems that the high winds cut a 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, through

cut a swathe through

pass through something causing great damage, destruction, or change.
A swathe was the area cut by a single sweep of a mower's scythe, and so the width of a strip of grass or corn cut in this way.
See also: cut, swathe, through
References in periodicals archive ?
Born into a poor Irish family with a rough, neglectful father and a mother prone to drink and men, he and his brothers cut a swathe through late 19th-century eastern Australia robbing banks.