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See more synonyms for dwelt on Thesaurus.com
  1. a simple past tense and past participle of dwell.
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verb (used without object), dwelt or dwelled, dwell·ing.
  1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
  2. to live or continue in a given condition or state: to dwell in happiness.
  3. 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.
  4. (of a moving tool or machine part) to be motionless for a certain interval during operation.
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  1. Machinery.
    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.
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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 formsdwell·er, nounout·dwell, verb (used with object), out·dwelt or out·dwelled, out·dwell·ing.pre·dwell, verb (used without object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for dwelt

Historical Examples

  • He dwelt on the childhood of Philothea with peculiar pleasure.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I could not remember those with whom I had dwelt there, not even my mother.

  • "She dwelt under the palm-tree;" or, as it might be rendered, in a forest of palms.

  • But still in De Montaigne's breast there dwelt a horrible fear.

  • His eyes turned, and dwelt sharply upon the face of Good Indian.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

British Dictionary definitions for dwelt


  1. a past tense of dwell
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verb dwells, dwelling, dwelt (dwɛlt) or dwelled (intr)
  1. formal, literary to live as a permanent resident
  2. to live (in a specified state)to dwell in poverty
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  1. a regular pause in the operation of a machine
  2. a flat or constant-radius portion on a linear or rotary cam enabling the cam follower to remain static for a brief time
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Derived Formsdweller, 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

Word Origin and History for dwelt



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper