one fell swoop (uncountable) One stroke; one action or event achieves or accomplishes many results. 1605, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, act iv, scene 3: What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme At one fell ſwoope? This is more credible than the Shakespeare Macbeth quote. In/at one fell swoop definition is - with a single, quick action or effort. It is a ‘fell’ swoop. Meaning: At the same time; in a powerful, decisive action. at one fell swoop - translate into Danish with the English-Danish Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionary How to use in/at one fell swoop in a sentence. It appears in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. That silent swoop is one thing, but what about ‘fell?’ We don’t use the word on its own anymore. Look it up now! “Fell” (an old word, which came into use by the 13th century) is the common root of “felon”. Instead the phrase should be “one fell swoop.” One fell swoop means all at once. Find more ways to say at one fell swoop, along with related words, antonyms and example phrases at Thesaurus.com, the world's most trusted free thesaurus. The 'fell swoop' (or stoop as is now said) is the rapid descent made by the bird when capturing prey." Changing the oil lubricates the engine and removes debris in one fell swoop. Look it up now! Tom on May 10, 2018 7:37 pm. Origin: This idiom traces its roots all the way back to ye olde English. Why would it be One Foul Swoop? Another word for at one fell swoop. It has the same root as ‘felon’ and ‘felony,’ meaning criminal and crime. Darren Walker on March 05, 2020 11:24 pm. I first heard the expression when I was a child. The word’s stem can also be seen in "felon," which now is mostly used to mean someone who has been convicted of a felony (a serious crime), but which formerly meant one who is terrible, horrible or awful in behavior. Fell, from Old English, means awful, terrible or horrible. One fell swoop, in definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. : : : : I think it's not clear from this explanation that the word "fell" has nothing whatever to do with the kite "falling" upon its prey. Idiom: At one fell swoop. We use the term ‘one fell swoop’ correctly without actually thinking about the meaning of the words. While we don’t often use the word “fell” in this way anymore, it meant “fierce,” “villain,” “terrible,” etc. What idiot sheep would think it was that? The "swoop" is an onomotopoeia, indicating a fast movement. A one-fell swoop was (under my explanation) the most likely meaning of One Fell Swoop. 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