[ wel-ter ]
See synonyms for: welterwelteredweltering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to roll, toss, or heave, as waves or the sea.

  2. to roll, writhe, or tumble about; wallow, as animals (often followed by about): pigs weltering about happily in the mud.

  1. to lie bathed in or be drenched in something, especially blood.

  2. to become deeply or extensively involved, associated, entangled, etc.: to welter in setbacks, confusion, and despair.

  1. a confused mass; a jumble or muddle: a welter of anxious faces.

  2. a state of commotion, turmoil, or upheaval: the welter that followed the surprise attack.

  1. a rolling, tossing, or tumbling about, as or as if by the sea, waves, or wind: They found the shore through the mighty welter.

Origin of welter

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English welteren, welten “tumble, fall over; writhe,” Old English wiltan, weltan “roll”; cognate with Middle Dutch welteren, Low German weltern “to roll”

Other words for welter

Words Nearby welter

Other definitions for welter (2 of 2)

[ wel-ter ]

  1. Informal. a welterweight boxer or wrestler.

  1. (of a steeplechase or hurdle race) pertaining to, or noting a race in which the horses bear welterweights.

Origin of welter

First recorded in 1785–95; of uncertain origin; perhaps from welt in the sense “to beat soundly” + -er1, or welter1 in the sense “a rolling or tossing about”

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use welter in a sentence

  • He was the representative of an old order going down in the unforeseeable welter of twentieth-century politics.

    The Regent | E. Arnold Bennett
  • The swirling water touched the sides of the long-boat and then receded when the stricken schooner struggled up from the welter.

    Blow The Man Down | Holman Day

British Dictionary definitions for welter


/ (ˈwɛltə) /

  1. to roll about, writhe, or wallow

  2. (esp of the sea) to surge, heave, or toss

  1. to lie drenched in a liquid, esp blood

  1. a rolling motion, as of the sea

  2. a confused mass; jumble

Origin of welter

C13: from Middle Low German, Middle Dutch weltern; related to Old High German walzan, welzen to roll

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