AskDefine | Define swath

Dictionary Definition



1 the space created by the swing of a scythe or the cut of a mowing machine
2 a path or strip (as cut by one course of mowing) [syn: belt]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • IPA: /swɔːθ/

Alternative spellings


Old English swæþ, swathu (a "track", "trace", "scar") Corresponds to MLG and MDu swat, MHG and MNG swade, NDu swad(e), OFries swethe border. Root meaning: trace of a cut.
Attested in English since 888 in its obsolete meaning of track or trace, since 1475 in its more modern usage. Cognate with German Schwaden (row of mown grass or grain).
No definite cognates outside Germanic languages.
  • See F. Kluge, Etymologisches Wörterbuch (De Gruyter), entry Schwaden, and OED.


  1. The track cut out by a scythe in mowing.
  2. In the context of "often|figurative": A broad sweep or expanse.
    "Five days after Hurricane Katrina, large swaths of New Orleans, such as Canal Street seen here, are still submerged in water."

Usage notes

To be distinguished from main meanings of swathe, but that is also an alternative spelling for this word.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

The Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) is a twin-hull ship design that minimizes hull volume in the surface area of the sea. By minimizing hull volume in the sea's surface, where wave energy is located, the vessel becomes very stable, even in high seas and at high speeds. The bulk of the displacement necessary to keep the ship afloat is located beneath the waves, where it is less affected by wave action, as wave excitation drops exponentially with depth. Placing the majority of the ship's displacement under the waves is similar in concept to submarines, which are also not affected by wave action.


The twin-hull design provides large, broad decks and a stable platform. The main disadvantages to the SWATH hull form are that they are more expensive than conventional catamarans, require a complex control system, have a deeper draught than catamarans and mono-hulled ships, and a higher maintenance requirement. Furthermore, SWATH vessels can use up to 80% more power than an equivalent catamaran, and are more limited in speed compared to equivalent catamaran vessels.


The SWATH form was invented by Canadian Frederick G. Creed, who presented his idea in 1938 and was later awarded a British patent for it in 1946. It was first used in the 1960s and 1970s as an evolution of catamaran design for use as oceanographic research vessels or submarine rescue ships.

Specific examples

See also


swath in German: Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull
swath in French: SWATH
swath in Croatian: SWATH brod
swath in Dutch: SWATH

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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