A sweeper is an object on the bank of a river, usually a tree or branch which reaches the surface of the water or below and allows water to flow, but tends to stop large objects. These river features provide no entertainment value for the whitewater paddler. They are simply dangerous. They can entangle or trap a swimmer in current causing them the unfortunate consequence of drowning.
Sweeper is the name of a defensive position in soccer. Generally used with a three or four (marking) back system, the sweeper plays behind the main line, always keeping in a triangle off the other two backs, and about five yards off at an angle from whichever marking back is being pressured. The sweeper is basically the last line of defense, and if a marking back is beaten, it is his/her job to "sweep" back and either stop or delay the run, allowing the rest of the defense to recover.
Sweep"er (?), n.
One who, or that which, sweeps, or cleans by sweeping; a sweep; as, a carpet sweeper.
It is oxygen which is the great sweeper of the economy.
© Webster 1913.
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