cut a (wide) swath

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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. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cut a wide swath

 and cut a big swath
to seem important; to attract a lot of attention. In social matters, Mrs. Smith cuts a wide swath. Bob cuts a big swath whenever he appears in his military uniform.
See also: cut, swath, wide
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cut a wide swath

Draw a lot of attention, make a considerable display, as in Although he was new to the company, he cut a wide swath. This metaphoric use of making a big sweep of the scythe in cutting grass survives despite the mechanization of farming and the declining use of the noun swath. [Mid-1800s]
See also: cut, swath, wide
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cut a wide swath

To make a big display; draw much attention.
See also: cut, swath, wide
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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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References in periodicals archive ?
Next time a hurricane cuts a swath through a town, eligibility and size of government grants, loans etc.
Meanwhile, a shallow boat carrying a pair fishermen cuts a swath across the Siuslaw River.
Here we go again -- with the Russians replaced by terrorists, as they generally are in '90s thrillers: The hero is a very junior officer, in this case an Army lieutenant, who cuts a swath through the Pentagon and ultimately defeats the bad guys running the Defense Department.
Such deposits--crystallized structures combining water and hydrocarbon gases-typically only peek 25 through crevices in the ocean floor This outcropping (right top), spotted July 15, cuts a swath the size of a refrigerator.