Meaning of SWIM in English


I. swim 1 S3 /swɪm/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense swam /swæm/, past participle swum /swʌm/, present participle swimming )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ swim , ↑ swimmer , ↑ swimming ; verb : ↑ swim ; adverb : ↑ swimmingly ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: swimman ]

1 . MOVE THROUGH WATER [intransitive and transitive] to move yourself through water using your arms and legs

swim in

We swam in the chilly water.

swim around/across etc

She could swim across the lake.

Let’s go swimming this afternoon.

kids learning to swim the backstroke

She was the first woman to swim the Channel.

2 . WATER ANIMALS [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] when fish, ducks etc swim, they move around the water using their tails and ↑ fin s , their feet etc:

Tropical fish swam slowly around in the tank.


a) if your head swims, you start to feel confused or that everything is spinning around:

My head was swimming after looking at that screen all day.

b) if something you are looking at swims, it seems to be moving around, usually because you are ill, tired, or drunk:

The numbers swam before my eyes.

4 . be swimming in something to be covered by a lot of liquid:

potatoes swimming in thick gravy

5 . swim against the tide/current etc to do or say things which are different from what most people do or say, because you do not mind being different OPP swim with the tide

⇨ sink or swim at ↑ sink 1 (15)

II. swim 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ swim , ↑ swimmer , ↑ swimming ; verb : ↑ swim ; adverb : ↑ swimmingly ]

1 . a period of time that you spend swimming:

Let’s go for a swim.

2 . in the swim (of things) informal knowing about and involved in what is happening in a particular situation

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.