drain the swamp


drain the swamp

Meaning | Synonyms

  • rooting out the practice of corruption
  • preventing to uprooting something that is harmful
  • originally means the draining swamps to get rid of or lowering the mosquito population

Example Sentences

  1. No matter how critical it is, Draining the swamps would be just about impossible unless we citizens take action against it in the union.
  2. The bizarre practices and preaching of black magic by that woman is starting have some serious bad impact on the kids here. Can you believe my 8-year-old kid’s been asking about it! It’s time to call a society meeting and drain the swamp.
  3. Nations need to take strong actions to drain the swamps breeding terrorists.
  4. After becoming President of the United States, Donald Trump promised to drain the swamps several times during his tenure.


The origin is based on the practice of draining swamps as a way to lower mosquito-breeding and thereby fight malaria. One of the earliest uses of the idiom “drain the swamp” has been recorded as made by Winfield R. Gaylord, a politician. Another noted use of this phrase has been made in a book titled Broadsides by Victor L. Berger, yet another American politician. Clearly, given its metaphorical sense, the phrase has been used by and large by American politicians more than anywhere else, especially for the last few decades.

Martin Longman – a web editor of the Washington Monthly published an article on April 8, 2019, in Political Animal section about the current usage of the phrase in American politics. Martin writes:

The phrase “drain the swamp” has been around for a while but its current usage probably began in 1976 when Ronald Reagan, who was making an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the Republican Party’s nomination, said, “Sometimes, when you are up to your elbows in alligators, it is hard to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp. I think we can drain the swamp. We can take on the Washington system. We can change from remote control to personal control of our lives.” In 2000, Reform Party presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan revived the phrase, and Nancy Pelosi used it as a theme for her successful bid to take back control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 midterms. Donald Trump made great use of it in his 2016 campaign.”

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“Drain the swamp” was a statement made during the construction of the Panama Canal. The famous message was sent to a subordinate in the Corps of Engineers when leader of a construction crew sent a message to him that they “Were up to their ears in alligators”! The superior sent the reply, We’re the Corps of Engineers, if you’re up to your ears in alligators, DRAIN THE SWAMP”!

‒ Anonymous December 27, 2019

According to Albright’s “Fascism: A Warning”, Mussolini used this term as well.

‒ Oteta June 20, 2019

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