While we don’t often use the word “fell” in this way anymore, it meant “fierce,” “villain,” “terrible,” etc. Tom on May 10, 2018 7:37 pm. Origin: This idiom traces its roots all the way back to ye olde English. The "swoop" is an onomotopoeia, indicating a fast movement. “Fell” (an old word, which came into use by the 13th century) is the common root of “felon”. Another word for at one fell swoop. This is more credible than the Shakespeare Macbeth quote. Look it up now! Meaning: At the same time; in a powerful, decisive action. one fell swoop (uncountable) One stroke; one action or event achieves or accomplishes many results. It may refer to the swooping of a predatory bird, with the indication that there was a cessation of life in the prey because of the word 'fell' which is seldom used except in the context of (that tree was felled some time ago) 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. Idiom: At one fell swoop. I first heard the expression when I was a child. 1605, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, act iv, scene 3: What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme At one fell ſwoope? Why would it be One Foul Swoop? At one fell swoop definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. Fell, from Old English, means awful, terrible or horrible. Look it up now! It has the same root as ‘felon’ and ‘felony,’ meaning criminal and crime. What idiot sheep would think it was that? at one fell swoop - translate into Danish with the English-Danish Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionary It is a ‘fell’ swoop. One fell swoop, in definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. That silent swoop is one thing, but what about ‘fell?’ We don’t use the word on its own anymore. Changing the oil lubricates the engine and removes debris in one fell swoop. It appears in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. We use the term ‘one fell swoop’ correctly without actually thinking about the meaning of the words. A one-fell swoop was (under my explanation) the most likely meaning of One Fell Swoop. : : : : 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. Darren Walker on March 05, 2020 11:24 pm. Instead the phrase should be “one fell swoop.” One fell swoop means all at once. How to use in/at one fell swoop in a sentence. The 'fell swoop' (or stoop as is now said) is the rapid descent made by the bird when capturing prey." means: All at once. 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. In/at one fell swoop definition is - with a single, quick action or effort.