See more synonyms for groundswell on
  1. a broad, deep swell or rolling of the sea, due to a distant storm or gale.
  2. any surge of support, approval, or enthusiasm, especially among the general public: a groundswell of political support for the governor.

Origin of groundswell

First recorded in 1810–20; ground1 + swell Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for groundswell

bloc, coalition, groundswell

Examples from the Web for groundswell

Contemporary Examples of groundswell

Historical Examples of groundswell

  • The courage and the endurance women must possess to face a groundswell like this!

    The Open Air

    Richard Jefferies

  • For it is the nature of a groundswell to be exceedingly deceptive.

    The Open Air

    Richard Jefferies

  • All over the country the groundswell of unrest was steadily and rapidly rising.

    To Him That Hath

    Ralph Connor

  • A groundswell on, but we are getting along, and feel very thankful to Him who has favored us.

  • To-day the groundswell was more active, the waves closer together, not having had time to forget the force of the extinct gale.

    The Open Air

    Richard Jefferies

British Dictionary definitions for groundswell


  1. a considerable swell of the sea, often caused by a distant storm or earthquake or by the passage of waves into shallow water
  2. a strong public feeling or opinion that is detectable even though not openly expresseda groundswell of discontent
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 groundswell

1818, from ground (n.) + swell (n.). Figurative sense is attested from 1817.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper