Meaning of SWELL in English


I. ˈswel verb

( swelled ; swelled or swol·len ˈswō-lən ; swell·ing )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English swellan; akin to Old High German swellan to swell

Date: before 12th century

intransitive verb


a. : to expand (as in size, volume, or numbers) gradually beyond a normal or original limit

the population swell ed

b. : to become distended or puffed up

her ankle is badly swollen

c. : to form a bulge or rounded elevation


a. : to become filled with pride and arrogance

b. : to behave or speak in a pompous, blustering, or self-important manner

c. : to play the swell

3. : to become distended with emotion

transitive verb

1. : to affect with a powerful or expansive emotion

2. : to increase the size, number, or intensity of

swell the applicant pool

Synonyms: see expand

II. noun

Date: 1606

1. : a long often massive and crestless wave or succession of waves often continuing beyond or after its cause (as a gale)


a. : the condition of being protuberant

b. : a rounded elevation


a. : the act or process of swelling


(1) : a gradual increase and decrease of the loudness of a musical sound ; also : a sign indicating a swell

(2) : a device used in an organ for governing loudness


a. archaic : an impressive, pompous, or fashionable air or display

b. : a person dressed in the height of fashion

c. : a person of high social position or outstanding competence

III. adjective

Date: 1785


a. : stylish

b. : socially prominent

2. : excellent — used as a generalized term of enthusiasm

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.