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[dwel] /dwɛl/
verb (used without object), dwelt or dwelled, dwelling.
to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
to live or continue in a given condition or state:
to dwell in happiness.
to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing (often followed by on or upon):
to dwell on a particular point in an argument.
(of a moving tool or machine part) to be motionless for a certain interval during operation.
  1. a flat or cylindrical area on a cam for maintaining a follower in a certain position during part of a cycle.
  2. a period in a cycle in the operation of a machine or engine during which a given part remains motionless.
Origin of dwell
before 900; Middle English dwellen to lead astray, stun, abide, Old English dwellan to lead or go astray, hinder; cognate with Old Norse dvelja
Related forms
dweller, noun
outdwell, verb (used with object), outdwelt or outdwelled, outdwelling.
predwell, verb (used without object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dweller
Historical Examples
  • In all humbleness and awe, you are a dweller of the Silent Places.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • It was as if a dweller in a Harlem flat had been presented with a hippopotamus.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • It was no new thought to him or to any other dweller in that region.

    Keziah Coffin Joseph C. Lincoln
  • And the dweller in the country might rarely be a witness of these great solemnities.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies
  • This was evidently the means of water supply to the dweller or dwellers in the cottage.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • The dweller in this overhead galnlati may be red, white, or brown in color.

  • She looked insolvent, a dweller in the past, crippled by an acute memory.

    The Lowest Rung

    Mary Cholmondeley
  • By the spirit that is in me, who am yet a dweller on the earth, I charge thee speak.

    The World's Desire H. Rider Haggard and Andrew Lang
  • You are thinking that perhaps you might kill this dweller in the cave with your weapons.

    The Ivory Child H. Rider Haggard
  • The stranger was a middle-aged man; in dress and appearance a dweller of cities.

British Dictionary definitions for dweller


verb (intransitive) dwells, dwelling, dwelt (dwɛlt), dwelled
(formal, literary) to live as a permanent resident
to live (in a specified state): to dwell in poverty
a regular pause in the operation of a machine
a flat or constant-radius portion on a linear or rotary cam enabling the cam follower to remain static for a brief time
Derived Forms
dweller, noun
Word Origin
Old English dwellan to seduce, get lost; related to Old Saxon bidwellian to prevent, Old Norse dvelja, Old High German twellen to prevent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dweller

late 14c., agent noun from dwell (v.).



Old English dwellan "to mislead, deceive," originally "to make a fool of, lead astray," from Proto-Germanic *dwaljanan (cf. Old Norse dvöl "delay," dvali "sleep;" Middle Dutch dwellen "to stun, make giddy, perplex;" Old High German twellen "to hinder, delay;" Danish dvale "trance, stupor," dvaelbær "narcotic berry," source of Middle English dwale "nightshade"), from PIE *dhwel-, from root *dheu- (1) "dust, cloud, vapor, smoke" (and related notions of "defective perception or wits").

Related to Old English gedweola "error, heresy, madness." Sense shifted in Middle English through "hinder, delay," to "linger" (c.1200, as still in phrase to dwell upon), to "make a home" (mid-13c.). Related: Dwelled; dwelt; dwells.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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