in one fell swoop


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Related to in one fell swoop: by all means

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
You then gift the remaining ownership to your heirs in the form of limited partnership units, either in one fell swoop or more gradually, to take advantage of the $10,000 per person annual gift tax exclusion.
In one fell swoop, what had been a surplus plant with a heavy shutdown cost became a solution for another division - one that eliminated the severance liability and reduced its unit cost by 10 cents.
He saw a golden opportunity: In one fell swoop, he could curry favor with the senior citizen vote and hold Nixon's feet to the fire.
As businesspeople that was hard to do, because we worked all year to increase revenues by $150,000 and now we could do it in one fell swoop. But it would have been the old large-firm mentality of trying to juggle--and, if you throw one big ball up in the air, you drop all the others."
Robert Michael Pyle begins his essay on the gradual degradation of his urban environment this way: "I became a nonbeliever and a conservationist in one fell swoop. All it took was the Lutherans paving their parking lot."
For one thing, as Ritter argues, "It makes absolutely no sense for Iraq to be involved in a bio-terror attack that, in one fell swoop, undermines what has been Iraq's number one priority over the past decade: the lifting of economic sanctions."
These days at eBay, one can bid on rare Furbies, Kurt Cobain's power of attorney document, and, thanks to Staehle, some old image files by Mariko Mori, all in one fell swoop.