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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.
  3. to lie bathed in or be drenched in something, especially blood.
  4. to become deeply or extensively involved, associated, entangled, etc.: to welter in setbacks, confusion, and despair.
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  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.
  3. a rolling, tossing, or tumbling about, as or as if by the sea, waves, or wind: They found the shore through the mighty welter.
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Origin of welter

1250–1300; Middle English, frequentative (see -er6) of welten to roll, Old English weltan; cognate with Middle Dutch welteren, Low German weltern to roll

Synonyms for welter

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

Related Words for weltering

drop, dwindle, wilt, wither, shrink, savor, revel, relish, indulge, totter, flounder, lurch, slope, bicker, tumble, toss, ascend, seesaw, bend, heave

Examples from the Web for weltering

Historical Examples of weltering

  • I saw you weltering in your blood; I tried to save you, but could not.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • Ferrares had been found in the valley, weltering in his blood.

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • On the next morning she was found a corpse, weltering in her blood.

  • A thrust, a slashing blow, and the Drilgo was weltering in his life-blood.

  • But this tide is discerned, as it were, through a dimness of weltering mist.

British Dictionary definitions for weltering


verb (intr)
  1. to roll about, writhe, or wallow
  2. (esp of the sea) to surge, heave, or toss
  3. to lie drenched in a liquid, esp blood
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  1. a rolling motion, as of the sea
  2. a confused mass; jumble
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Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for weltering



"to roll or twist," c.1300, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German welteren "to roll," from Proto-Germanic *waltijanan (cf. Old English wieltan, Old Norse velta, Old High German walzan "to turn, revolve," German wälzen "to roll," Gothic waltjan "to roll"), from PIE root *wel- "to turn, revolve" (see volvox). The noun meaning "confused mass" is first recorded 1851.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper