Swath or Swathe?

Have you ever read the word swath and wondered if it should be swathe?

Swath is a noun and refers to a path made by mowing or cutting, as with a scythe or similar instrument, but it’s often used in literature in a more figurative sense to indicate something that is like a path left by such actions or something that could be thought of as similar to a bandage, belt or strip. It can also mean the ridge or line of mown or scythed grass.

Swathe is a verb, meaning to wrap, bind or swaddle with narrow bands of some type of material. It can also mean to enfold or envelop. Although swathe is a verb, it is sometimes used as a noun and then it means a bandage, wrapping or strip of linen.

A bit confusing, I know, but if you stick to using swath as a noun and swathe as a verb you won’t go wrong.

Examples:

The man cut a swath through the field of rye.

Swathe the wound with strips of linen.

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