See more synonyms for swill on Thesaurus.com
  1. liquid or partly liquid food for animals, especially kitchen refuse given to swine; hogwash.
  2. kitchen refuse in general; garbage.
  3. any liquid mess, waste, or refuse; slop.
  4. a deep draught of liquor.
  5. contemptibly worthless utterance or writing; drivel.
verb (used without object)
  1. to drink greedily or excessively.
verb (used with object)
  1. to drink (something) greedily or to excess; guzzle.
  2. to feed (animals) with swill: to swill hogs.
  3. Chiefly British. to wash by rinsing or flooding with water.

Origin of swill

before 900; Middle English swilen (v.), Old English swilian, swillan
Related formsswill·er, nounun·swilled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swilling

Contemporary Examples of swilling

Historical Examples of swilling

  • An ould friend, whose hand has rested in my hand, and swilling the floor of a prison!

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Another plunge and swilling of water in the pan, and—could he believe his eyes!

  • There fell Faustus and his company a-drinking and swilling, not of the worst, but of the best.

  • The horses' mouths are heard, swilling the water out of tubs.

  • If I were here I should be fighting, instead of swilling wine and idling as do these men.

British Dictionary definitions for swilling


  1. to drink large quantities of (liquid, esp alcoholic drink); guzzle
  2. (tr often foll by out) mainly British to drench or rinse in large amounts of water
  3. (tr) to feed swill to (pigs, etc)
  1. wet feed, esp for pigs, consisting of kitchen waste, skimmed milk, etc
  2. garbage or refuse, esp from a kitchen
  3. a deep draught of drink, esp beer
  4. any liquid mess
  5. the act of swilling
Derived Formsswiller, noun

Word Origin for swill

Old English swilian to wash out
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 swilling



Old English swilian, swillan "to wash, gargle," with no certain cognates, but probably from Proto-Germanic *sweljanan, related to the root of swallow (v.). Meaning "drink greedily" is from 1530s. Related: Swilled; swilling.



"liquid kitchen refuse fed to pigs," 1550s, from swill (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper