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.
- re·swell, verb, re·swelled, re·swelled or re·swol·len, re·swell·ing.
- un·der·swell, verb (used without object), un·der·swelled, un·der·swelled or un·der·swol·len, un·der·swell·ing.
- un·der·swell, noun
- un·swelled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use swell in a sentence
Some side effects are expected and manageable, such as redness or swelling at the site of the injection, fever, aching muscles or joints, headaches or fatigue.Here’s what pausing the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial really means | Aimee Cunningham | September 9, 2020 | Science News
Year-round breaks, like the perfect swells at Praia de Santa Bárbara, attract surfers looking to avoid mainland Portugal’s crowds.
This could happen with a vaccine, leading to a swell of refusal among his political opponents.A third of Americans might refuse a Covid-19 vaccine. How screwed are we? | Brian Resnick | September 4, 2020 | Vox
In a several years the entire network is expected to swell to 12,000 satellites, with a possible expansion to 42,000.Satellite mega-constellations risk ruining astronomy forever | Neel Patel | September 2, 2020 | MIT Technology Review
If there’s a big swell, the dramatic ending of The Firebird, you know, you’re right in the middle of it.Conducting the Mathematical Orchestra From the Middle | Rachel Crowell | September 2, 2020 | Quanta Magazine
It stands to reason the controversy will swell after the release.Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas from Abominable Killjoys (Other Christians) | Brandy Zadrozny | November 14, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But when I see these sorts of lies in Iranian media, my eyes swell up with tears and I start shaking.
I kept holding out hope that he would say, ‘You know, this is pretty swell here and the work is fulfilling.’‘The Good Wife’s Christine Baranski on Life After Will Gardner’s Death | Jason Lynch | April 21, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Internal organs like the spleen swell up and become as hard as sausages.Already Deadly in Africa, Could Ebola Hit America Next? | Scott Bixby | April 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“It would be a swell joke on tout-le-monde if you & Fife & I spent the summer at Juan-les-Pins,” she wrote.
Not only did he provide sub-octave and super-octave couplers freely, but he even added a swell Sub-quint to Great coupler!
It is not exactly so, but is still very different to the gradual swell on the other Cremona instruments.Violins and Violin Makers | Joseph Pearce
The introduction of the balanced swell pedal (Walcker, 1863) has greatly increased the tonal resources of the organ.
The position of the swell shutters is brought under the control of the organist's fingers as well as his feet.
To this general swell pedal (and its corresponding indicator key) any or all of the other swell pedals may be coupled at will.
British Dictionary definitions for swell
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 degree: the 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
a set of pipes on an organ housed in a box (swell box) fitted with a shutter operated by a pedal, which can be opened or closed to control the volume
informal stylish or grand
slang excellent; first-class
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