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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.
See also: fell, one, 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.
See also: fell, one, swoop

at one fell swoop

 and 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.
See also: fell, one, 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.
See also: down, on, 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

swoop down

To make a rush or an attack with or as if with a sudden sweeping movement: An owl swooped down on the rabbit.
See also: down, swoop

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?”
See also: fell, one, swoop
References in classic literature ?
Here, again, an Asiatic aflame at either end swooped out of the battle.
They swooped towards Niagara city and landed one after another in a long line in a clear space before the hotel.
The others swooped down exactly like great birds upon the roof of the power-house.
Round they swooped once again over the Canadian Fall, over the waste of waters eastward, until they were distant and small, and then round and back, hurrying, bounding, swooping towards the one gaping spectator.
Two of the Germans swooped and rose again, but the Hohenzollern had suffered too much for that.
Rusty, burning to avenge his disgrace, swooped down upon him.
For a time he could not even speak, but at last regained sufficient composure to tell them how the thing must have swooped silently upon him from above and behind as the first premonition of danger he had received was when the long, clawlike fingers had clutched him beneath either arm.
Not long after they had agreed upon this plan, the Eagle, being in want of provision for her young ones, swooped down while the Fox was out, seized upon one of the little cubs, and feasted herself and her brood.
Suddenly a howling gust of wind swooped down the chimney, scattering ashes and smoke in all directions, for a moment obscuring everything.
One was leaning over the railing feeding the gulls as they swooped down to take the food.
Cousins was interested in Sligo Rovers' Dinny Corcoran but swooped for Kelly, left, yesterday after he suddenly became available.
Tunis, May 17 (BNA): Bahrain swooped four awards in the 16th edition of the Arab Festival for Radio and Television, which concluded yesterday in Hammamet, Tunisia, in the presence of senior Arab officials and artists.
Police swooped on homes in Ribble Road, Stoke, and Copperas Street, Aldermans Green, yesterday and took two 49-year-old men into custody.
POLICE officers swooped on homes today in an operation focused on catching up with suspected criminals.
The bird of prey swooped in for the kill after the mother had left the nest at an activity centre in Aberdeenshire.