Swatch vs swath

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Swatch and swath are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of swatch and swath, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A swatch is a small piece of cloth that serves as a sample. Often, swatches are collected in books to be used in designing and decorating. Swatch may also refer to any small sample, such as a paint swatch. A new use of the word has emerged to mean to try out samples of makeup on the skin, especially when the result is posted on social media. Swatch may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are swatches, swatched and swatching. The word swatch was first used in the sixteenth century in Scotland and Northern England to mean the seller’s copy of a tally.

A swath is a wide strip of something or a wide are of land. Swath may refer to the width of a row of vegetation that may be cut with one swipe of a scythe or a mower. The word swath is derived from the Old English word swæth, which means trace or track.


Entrants are required to submit sketches of their design (story board), a fabric swatch of the design, a biography of less than 20 words on the inspiration for the work, a copy of the entrant’s ID and a short designer’s biography. (Zululand Observer)

Whether you’re a makeup swatch beginner or a seasoned, pro, it seems that everyone on the Internet is currently obsessed with the technique. (Teen Vogue Magazine)

San Diego officials want to annex into Mission Trails Regional Park a giant swath of open land called East Elliott, where previous proposals have included large housing subdivisions and a new city dump. (The San Diego Union Tribune)