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verb (used without object)
  1. to roll about or lie in water, snow, mud, dust, or the like, as for refreshment: Goats wallowed in the dust.
  2. to live self-indulgently; luxuriate; revel: to wallow in luxury; to wallow in sentimentality.
  3. to flounder about; move along or proceed clumsily or with difficulty: A gunboat wallowed toward port.
  4. to surge up or billow forth, as smoke or heat: Waves of black smoke wallowed into the room.
  1. an act or instance of wallowing.
  2. a place in which animals wallow: hog wallow; an elephant wallow.
  3. the indentation produced by animals wallowing: a series of wallows across the farmyard.

Origin of wallow

before 900; Middle English walwe, Old English wealwian to roll; cognate with Gothic walwjan; akin to Latin volvere

Synonyms for wallow

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2. swim, bask.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wallowing

Contemporary Examples of wallowing

Historical Examples of wallowing

  • We are, on the contrary, fumbling and wallowing about where the Greek pondered and philosophized.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since

    Charles Francis Adams

  • He stamped them into the snow under him in the wallowing struggle.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • A sea hog is a wallowing boat with a long, black, heavy snout.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • The brute was wallowing on the surface now, the water boiling around him.

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

  • You can fancy how dirty we became, splashing, stumbling, wallowing in it.

British Dictionary definitions for wallowing


verb (intr)
  1. (esp of certain animals) to roll about in mud, water, etc, for pleasure
  2. to move about with difficulty
  3. to indulge oneself in possessions, emotion, etcto wallow in self-pity
  4. (of smoke, waves, etc) to billow
  1. the act or an instance of wallowing
  2. a muddy place or depression where animals wallow
Derived Formswallower, noun

Word Origin for wallow

Old English wealwian to roll (in mud); related to Latin volvere to turn, Greek oulos curly, Russian valun round pebble
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 wallowing



Old English wealwian "to roll," from West Germanic *walwojan, from PIE *wel- "to roll" (see volvox). Figurative sense of "to plunge and remain in some state or condition" is attested from early 13c. Related: Wallowed; wallowing. The noun is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper