- to grow in bulk, as by the absorption of moisture or the processes of growth.
- Pathology. to increase abnormally in size, as by inflation, distention, accumulation of fluids, or the like: Her ankles swelled from standing.
- to rise in waves, as the sea.
- to well up, as a spring or as tears.
- to bulge out, as a sail or the middle of a cask.
- to grow in amount, degree, force, etc.
- to increase gradually in volume or intensity, as sound: The music swelled.
- to arise and grow within one, as a feeling or emotion.
- to become puffed up with pride.
- to cause to grow in bulk.
- to cause to increase gradually in loudness: to swell a musical tone.
- to cause (a thing) to bulge out or be protuberant.
- to increase in amount, degree, force, etc.
- to affect with a strong, expansive emotion.
- to puff up with pride.
- the act of swelling or the condition of being swollen.
- inflation or distention.
- a protuberant part.
- a wave, especially when long and unbroken, or a series of such waves.
- a gradually rising elevation of the land.
- an increase in amount, degree, force, etc.
- a gradual increase in loudness of sound.
- a gradual increase (crescendo) followed by a gradual decrease (diminuendo) in loudness or force of musical sound.
- the sign (< >) for indicating this.
- a device, as in an organ, by which the loudness of tones may be varied.
- a swelling of emotion within one.
- a fashionably dressed person; dandy.
- a socially prominent person.
- (of things) stylish; elegant: a swell hotel.
- (of persons) fashionably dressed or socially prominent.
- first-rate; fine: a swell party.
Origin of swell
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for swelled
Thereafter, the 1960s swelled with political zeal and social unrest.A History of Paris in 150 Photographs
December 14, 2014
The crowd of journalists that had swelled to its largest number.An Uneasy Peace Falls on Ferguson after Local Cops Called Off
August 15, 2014
The crowd of journalists that has swelled to its largest number.Ferguson on Edge Again as Night Falls
August 15, 2014
In recent weeks, the size of these groups has swelled to up to 100.Hundreds of Immigrants Are Rushing the Border Just to Get Caught
July 3, 2014
The number who feel lower class has swelled from 25% in 2008 to an almost doubled 49% in 2014 according to CNN.Is Crowdsourced Labor the Future of Middle Class Employment?
March 26, 2014
Miss Wardwell swelled with importance and let her superior ask her twice.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
The pool that we saw that night has swelled into a lake,—English blood and American,—no!Old News
Some called him Tom Sawyer the Traveler, and that just swelled him up fit to bust.Tom Sawyer Abroad
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
The sixteen States over which Washington presided had swelled to eighteen.The Nation in a Nutshell
George Makepeace Towle
And it swelled into such a laugh that I saw the police feel for their clubs.The Harbor
- to grow or cause to grow in size, esp as a result of internal pressureCompare contract (def. 1), contract (def. 3)
- to expand or cause to expand at a particular point or above the surrounding level; protrude
- to grow or cause to grow in size, amount, intensity, or degreethe party is swelling with new recruits
- to puff or be puffed up with pride or another emotion
- (intr) (of seas or lakes) to rise in waves
- (intr) to well up or overflow
- (tr) to make (a musical phrase) increase gradually in volume and then diminish
- the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea
- a succession of waves or a single large wave
- a swelling or being swollen; expansion
- an increase in quantity or degree; inflation
- a bulge; protuberance
- a gentle hill
- informal a person very fashionably dressed
- informal a man of high social or political standing
- music a crescendo followed by an immediate diminuendo
- Also called: swell organ music
- informal stylish or grand
- slang excellent; first-class
Word Origin and History for swelled
Old English swellan "grow or make bigger" (past tense sweall, past participle swollen), from Proto-Germanic *swelnanan (cf. Old Saxon swellan, Old Norse svella, Old Frisian swella, Middle Dutch swellen, Dutch zwellen, Old High German swellan, German schwellen), of unknown origin.
early 13c., "a morbid swelling," from swell (v.). In reference to a rise of the sea, it is attested from c.1600. The meaning "wealthy, elegant person" is first recorded 1786; hence the adjectival meaning "fashionably dressed or equipped" (1810), both from the notion of "puffed-up, pompous" behavior. The sense of "good, excellent" first occurs 1897, and as a stand-alone expression of satisfaction it is recorded from 1930 in American English.