In the sentence what is the meaning of sweep off

Plague swept off millions.

kill better describes the sentence, but no dictionary have the word sweep off meaning to kill/be killed.

In Free dictionary its meaning is to escort or take away but it doesn't suit the context.

  • 1
    Where did you get "Plague swept off millions"? Was that the complete sentence? Did you leave something out? – Em. May 18 '19 at 6:32
  • Actually in my grammar exercise there is a sentence in which I am to fill the correct form of the verb sweep though I filled in the correct form but didn't understand the meaning of the sentence – user93387 May 18 '19 at 6:39
  • Did you copy the entire exercise, and is it an accurate copy? Also, please edit your post to include additional details or make other improvements. – Em. May 18 '19 at 6:41

It means "escort or take away", in the figurative sense of "taking away someone's life". It is figurative as it gives an image of a sweeper who brushes away a lot of bits of dirt with a single stroke, similar to how plague swept through Asia and Europe in the 1300s.

Dictionaries don't list all the possible metaphorical meanings, as they keep changing and so have to be understood from the context.

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