One Fell Swoop


What does One Fell Swoop mean?

The phrase One Fell Swoop is an old English idiom that has been in use for centuries, referring to the sudden and simultaneous completion of a large task.

The phrase has been used to describe an event that achieves multiple goals in a single action, giving the impression that the job has been done in one swift swoop. In modern English, “One Fell Swoop” is often used to describe a sudden and comprehensive solution to a complex problem.

This expression is commonly used in business, to describe a moment in which a company or individual succeeds in accomplishing multiple goals all at the same time. It is an apt description of a moment when a large task is completed quickly and efficiently.


What's the origin of One Fell Swoop?

“One Fell Swoop” is often thought to have been coined by the great playwright, William Shakespeare.

While the exact origin of the phrase is uncertain, it is believed that it was either created or given greater circulation by the Bard himself through his play Macbeth, which was written in 1605.

This phrase has come to mean the act of performing or achieving something in a single, decisive action. It is often used to describe the swiftness or effectiveness with which something is accomplished.

Although the term “Fell” in the expression resembles the past tense of “Fall”, it actually originates from an older expression, which carried a meaning of “fierce or savage”, living on in the word “felon.”

Spread & Usage

How did One Fell Swoop spread?

“One Fell Swoop” has been used in literature, as well as everyday conversations, since the 17th century as a popular idiom meaning “all at once” or “very quickly”.

This phrase has grown in popularity over the centuries, and is still used in many contexts today, even being adopted as the name of a fashion brand.

Thus, the phrase “One Fell Swoop” continues to live on in our language, as a reminder of Shakespeare‘s influence on our culture.

External resources – One Fell Swoop


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