Although the phrase "sweep me off my feet" probably means, "make me fall in love with you in a short time", what does it exactly mean, because "sweeping" can be difficult to be associated with "love". (It can be difficult to read the words "sweeping" and "feet" to get a feeling that it means love).

Below is one of its usage in Steve Jobs's letter to his wife:

We didn’t know much about each other twenty years ago. We were guided by our intuition; you swept me off my feet. It was snowing when we got married at the Ahwahnee. Years passed, kids came, good times, hard times, but never bad times. Our love and respect has endured and grown. We’ve been through so much together and here we are right back where we started 20 years ago—older, wiser— with wrinkles on our faces and hearts. We now know many of life’s joys, sufferings, secrets and wonders and we’re still here together. My feet have never returned to the ground. -- Steve Jobs

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    I believe there is also an idiomatic reference to the tradition (myth?) of the bride being carried over the threshold of their new home by the groom. Aug 18, 2013 at 15:01

4 Answers 4


Although the phrase can mean that, and often does, it's also sometimes applied in a more broad context. To be "swept off your feet" is to be surprised, enthralled, exhilarated. Critics can be swept off their feet by an epic film; operagoers can be swept off their feet by a beautiful aria, etc.

As for how sweeping became associated with love, that's referring to the aspect of sweeping that means a smooth movement, not the act of using a broom. Ballroom dancers can sweep across the dance floor, a powdery snow can sweep across the barren fields. It's that smooth, fluid motion – and the idea of your emotions being carried in that fashion – that brought about the idiom. A strong ocean or river current can literally sweep you off your feet, and young lovers can do the same thing to each other, figuratively and emotionally.

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    But one would never say, "you are sweeping off my feet" unless you really were using a broom on my feet. The present continuous is not really used with the "sweep me off my feet" phrase, but if it were, it would be "you are sweeping me off my feet"
    – Jim
    Sep 14, 2012 at 4:48
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    You can pick up someone, one arm under the legs and one behind their back, and, if you do it in a single smooth movement, you could say the person was swept off their feet. That's the metaphor that comes to my mind when I hear the phrase. Sep 14, 2012 at 6:05
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    @AlbeyAmakiir Yes, if you imagine lovers doing that, the phrase is a metaphor for exactly that feeling of elation and exhilaration.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 14, 2012 at 6:33
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    @AndrewLeach: you should be at least 18 years old to read these comments:)
    – Noah
    Sep 14, 2012 at 6:49
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    @動靜能量 Times have changed, though. I've heard some ladies pay for the entire meal when dining out with a guy. Plus, I know lots of women stronger than their beaus. Never doubt the power -- or strength -- of love! A similar idiom is "walking on air" to mean exuberantly joyful.
    – Zairja
    Sep 14, 2012 at 19:42

It's an English expression referring to the feeling that one gets when completely taken by someone, carried away, swept away (all emotionally).

So "Are you trying to sweep me off my feet?" translates to, literally, "Are you trying to make me fall (in love) with you?"

It's like making someone fall in love with you in a short amount of time.

Source Urban Dictionary


It is an expression used mainly by women. Swept off my feet refers to the time when they are hugged by a taller man and spun around, their feet not touching the ground. Hence, 'swept off my feet'.

  • It sounds like a good explanation, but do you have a source to back it up?
    – IQAndreas
    Apr 16, 2014 at 6:06
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    The Steve Jobs quote disproves that this is an expression more commonly used by women.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 26, 2014 at 3:03

Imagine a broom sweeping the floor, in one sweeping motion, dust particles are lifted into the air. In the same way when you fall in love with someone, you are lifted off your feet effortlessly.

This feeling of elation is felt by both sexes, so I would disagree with @user72209 that the idiom is almost exclusive to women, indeed the touching tribute left by Steve Jobs to his wife disproves this idea.

to sweep someone off their feet
to cause someone to fall suddenly and completely in love with you

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