[ swel-ter ]
/ ˈswɛl tər /

verb (used without object)

to suffer from oppressive heat.

verb (used with object)

to oppress with heat.
Archaic. to exude, as venom.


a sweltering condition.

Origin of swelter

1375–1425; late Middle English swelt(e)ren (v.), equivalent to swelt(en) to be overcome with heat (Old English sweltan to die; cognate with Old Norse svelta, Gothic swiltan) + -eren -er6
Related formsun·swel·tered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swelter

British Dictionary definitions for swelter


/ (ˈswɛltə) /


(intr) to suffer under oppressive heat, esp to sweat and feel faint
(tr) archaic to exude (venom)
(tr) rare to cause to suffer under oppressive heat


a sweltering condition (esp in the phrase in a swelter)
oppressive humid heat

Word Origin for swelter

C15 swelten, from Old English sweltan to die; related to Old Norse svelta to starve, Old High German swelzan to burn with passion; see sultry
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