Definition of swift-boat in English:


transitive verb

[with object] informal
  • Target (a politician or public figure) with a campaign of personal attacks.

    • ‘when he got swift-boated, his campaign staffers didn't sit silently’
    • ‘organized smearing and swift-boating of public figures’
    • ‘However we can also lie, spin, smear, defame, swift-boat, and (in one worrying recent case from the sewer) threaten violence.’
    • ‘I think the idea that you can go into the general election and expect there not to be any negative attacks, or any effort to sort of swift-boat whoever our candidate is, is not realistic.’
    • ‘He says his wife is being swift-boated by her opponents.’
    • ‘It was one of the very first issues to be swift-boated by social conservatives.’
    • ‘He told reporters he won't be swift-boated.’
    • ‘Anyone who thinks he won't be swift-boated is living in a dream.’
    • ‘Both candidates showed that they will not be swift-boated.’
    • ‘He had been swift-boated in August.’
    • ‘There is a feeling that he did not run an effective campaign because he allowed himself to be swift-boated.’
    • ‘He's so competitive, they're now swift-boating him.’
    • ‘The raw material for swift-boating this year is already apparent.’
    • ‘It's good practice for serious swift-boating.’
    • ‘This is how swift-boating differs from its cousin McCarthyism, which deals in totally baseless charges that would be deeply serious if true.’
    • ‘Maybe swift-boating will disappear this year.’
    • ‘In the US, swift-boating is now a regular tactic.’
    • ‘Don't argue with them, swift-boat them. Find some embarrassing quote from an old interview.’
    • ‘Are you sick and tired of seeing all these Republican candidates swift-boating each other?’
    • ‘In Iowa yesterday, a reporter asked former House Speaker Gingrich if he felt he was being swift-boated.’
    • ‘In spite of continued attempts to swift-boat him, he remains one of America’s great naval leaders and patriots.’


2004 with allusion to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a political action committee that funded an advertising campaign criticizing 2004 US presidential candidate Senator John Kerry's record of military service aboard a swift boat, a type of US Navy patrol craft, during the Vietnam War.