[ sweyl ]
/ sweɪl /

noun Chiefly Northeastern U.S.

a low place in a tract of land, usually moister and often having ranker vegetation than the adjacent higher land.
a valleylike intersection of two slopes in a piece of land.

Nearby words

  1. swain,
  2. swainson's hawk,
  3. swainson's thrush,
  4. swak,
  5. swakara,
  6. swaledale,
  7. swalk,
  8. swallet,
  9. swallow,
  10. swallow dive

Origin of swale

1400–50; late Middle English; originally a cool, shady spot, perhaps < Old Norse svalr cool, or svalir a covered porch

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swale

British Dictionary definitions for swale


/ (sweɪl) /


mainly US
  1. a moist depression in a tract of land, usually with rank vegetation
  2. (as modifier)swell and swale topography

Word Origin for swale

C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse svala to chill

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 swale



"low, hollow place, often boggy," 1580s, special use of Scottish swaill "low, hollow place," or dialectal East Anglian swale "shady place" (mid-15c.); both probably from Old Norse svalr "cool," from Proto-Germanic *swalaz.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper