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at 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 at one fell swoop.
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.
one fell swoop
A single decisive or powerful action. When the economy crashed, thousands lost their jobs, their homes, and their pensions in one fell swoop. With one fell swoop, the military junta arrested the prime minister, executed its enemies in parliament, and assumed total control of the country.
To rush quickly downward in an abrupt sweeping motion. He swooped down and picked up the toddler before she got too close to the steps. I love sitting on the pier, watching the birds swoop down to catch fish.
swoop down on (someone or something)
1. To move down in a sudden plunging sweep to seize or land on someone or something. The falcon swooped down on its trainer's arm. The pelicans hover over the bay, swooping down on fish that venture too close to the surface of the water.
2. To descend on someone or something very quickly and suddenly, as to attack or grasp them or it. The children all swooped down on the pile of candy that fell from the broken piñata. Several police officers swooped down on the suspect.
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.
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."
in (or at) one fell swoopall 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?’
at/in one fell ˈswoopwith 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.
To make a rush or an attack with or as if with a sudden sweeping movement: An owl swooped down on the rabbit.
at one fell swoop
A single operation, often a violent one. This term was coined by Shakespeare, who used the metaphor of a hell-kite (probably a vulture) killing chickens for the murder of Macduff’s wife and children: “Oh, Hell-Kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?” (Macbeth, 4.3). The adjective fell was Old English for “fierce” or “savage.”
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?”