- a body of honeybees that emigrate from a hive and fly off together, accompanied by a queen, to start a new colony.
- a body of bees settled together, as in a hive.
- a great number of things or persons, especially in motion.
- Biology. a group or aggregation of free-floating or free-swimming cells or organisms.
- Geology. a cluster of earthquakes or other geologic phenomena or features.
- to fly off together in a swarm, as bees.
- to move about, along, forth, etc., in great numbers, as things or persons.
- to congregate, hover, or occur in groups or multitudes; be exceedingly numerous, as in a place or area.
- (of a place) to be thronged or overrun; abound or teem: The beach swarms with children on summer weekends.
- Biology. to move or swim about in a swarm.
- to swarm about, over, or in; throng; overrun.
- to produce a swarm of.
Origin of swarm1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for swarm on Thesaurus.com
- to climb by clasping with the legs and hands or arms and drawing oneself up; shin.
Origin of swarm2
Examples from the Web for swarm
He was prepared to swarm the island—not directly, but through Brooklyn.The British Royals Reinvade Brooklyn: William and Kate Come Watch Basketball on Historic Battle Site
December 6, 2014
The Stalwarts hoped to swarm the convention and force a challenge to the delegate roll.The GOP’s Last Identity Crisis Remade U.S. Politics
July 24, 2014
When he struck, Brown wrote, “The bees will begin to swarm.”When Robert E. Lee Met John Brown and Saved the Union
May 15, 2014
While he was doing that, Marion Barry was still holding court for a swarm of reporters back towards the stage.20 Years After Marion Barry, D.C. Voters Boot a Scandal-Tainted Mayor
April 2, 2014
Normally an air accident investigation would involve a swarm of hard-nosed engineers and scientists poring over wreckage.The New Fear of Flying After MH370
March 31, 2014
The moment a report of a gun is heard they'll swarm up to this room and get you.Way of the Lawless
A swarm surrounded the drug store, the glass door of which stood open.Chip, of the Flying U
B. M. Bower
And springing up, he ran to the bowsprit and began to swarm along it.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
But the sprinkling was a swarm in the Twickenham cottage, and filled it.Little Dorrit
A swarm of airships came into view, swirling in savage fight.
- a group of social insects, esp bees led by a queen, that has left the parent hive in order to start a new colony
- a large mass of small animals, esp insects
- a throng or mass, esp when moving or in turmoil
- (intr) (of small animals, esp bees) to move in or form a swarm
- (intr) to congregate, move about or proceed in large numbers
- (when intr, often foll by with) to overrun or be overrun (with)the house swarmed with rats
- (tr) to cause to swarm
- (when intr, usually foll by up) to climb (a ladder, etc) by gripping with the hands and feetthe boys swarmed up the rigging
Word Origin and History for swarm
"cloud of bees or other insects," Old English swearm, from Proto-Germanic *swarmaz (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Low German swarm, Swedish svärm, Middle Dutch swerm, Old High German swarm, German Schwarm "swarm;" Old Norse svarmr "tumult"), usually derived from PIE imitative root *swer- (2) "to buzz, whisper" (see susurration) on notion of humming sound. But OED suggests possible connection with base of swerve and ground sense of "agitated, confused, or deflected motion."
"to climb by clasping with the arms and legs alternately," 1540s, perhaps originally a sailors' word, of uncertain origin. Also recorded as swarve (16c.) and in Northern dialects swarble, swarmle.
"to leave a hive to start another," late 14c., from swarm (n.). Related: Swarmed; swarming.