Meaning of SWALLOW in English

I. ˈswä(ˌ)lō, -_lə also ˈswȯ(-; -_ləw, -_lō+V; dial, or NE+V, -_lər noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English swalwe, swalowe, from Old English swealwe, swealewe; akin to Old High German swalawa swallow, Old Norse svala swallow, Russian soloveĭ nightingale

1. : any of numerous small long-winged passerine birds (family Hirundinidae) that are noted for their graceful flight and regular migrations, have a short bill with a wide gape, small weak feet, plumage usually iridescent above, and often a deeply forked tail, occur in all parts of the world except New Zealand and polar regions, and feed on insects caught on the wing — see bank swallow , barn swallow , martin

2. : any of several swifts (as the chimney swift) that superficially resemble swallows — see sea swallow , wood swallow

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swallow 1


II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English swalowen, swelewen, from Old English swelgan; akin to Old High German swelgan, swelahan to swallow, Old Norse svelgja

transitive verb


a. : to take through the esophagus into the stomach : receive into the body through the mouth and throat

swallowing pint after pint of strong old ale — G.G.Carter

b. : to eat hurriedly without careful chewing : gulp down

swallowed his lunch and rushed out


a. : to cause to disappear : envelop completely : engulf , devour

admire the view before the night swallowed it — Claud Cockburn

history is big enough to swallow us too — H.J.Muller

— often used with up

wished the floor … would open and swallow her up — Fortnight

b. : to cause to become insignificant or unnoticeable : displace

in danger of being swallowed by the world — R.W.Southern

— usually used with up

had been swallowed up by the fame of the man he later came to be — Virginia D. Dawson & Betty D. Wilson

the theory of electromagnetism swallowed up the theory of light — A.N.Whitehead

c. : to cause to become engrossed : occupy completely — usually used with up


a. : to absorb eagerly or easily (as with the mind)

could not swallow books like oysters — Francis Biddle

b. : to grasp fully : comprehend

her head could not swallow it — R.A.W.Hughes

c. : to seize for oneself : appropriate

feared that his … neighbors … would swallow him and his people — A.P.Ryan

— often used with up

city after city was swallowed up — G.G.Coulton

4. : to accept readily without question

city fathers who couldn't quite swallow the idea of being ruled by a 17-year-old girl — C.M.L.Beuf

especially : to believe implicitly and often naïvely

swallowed his every remark as gospel — Rex Ingamells

his talks were listened to with openmouthed attention and duly swallowed whole — Polly Adler

5. : to make a retraction of : recant

offered the opportunity of swallowing their views and fading away without harsher punishment — Time

6. : to put up with : accept submissively : endure

swallowed an injustice which others would not have tolerated — R.G.Adams

7. : to refrain from expressing or showing : repress

pride was swallowed and the government retreated — J.H.Plumb

swallowed a smile — Hamilton Basso

8. : to utter (as words) indistinctly through failure to open the mouth wide enough

swallowed so many of his words that he might as well have been singing in Esperanto — Robert Evett

intransitive verb

1. : to receive something into the body through the mouth and throat

finished chewing and swallowed

2. : to perform the action characteristic of swallowing something especially under emotional stress

swallowed hard and turned away — F.V.W.Mason

Synonyms: see eat

- swallow the anchor

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English swalowe, swelowe, from Old English ge swelg gulf, abyss; akin to Middle High German swalch abyss, gullet, Old Norse svelgr whirlpool, swallower, svelgja to swallow


a. archaic : a deep opening in the earth : chasm , abyss

b. archaic

(1) : a deep body of water

(2) : whirlpool

c. or swallow hole chiefly Britain : sink 5


a. : a passage connecting the mouth to the stomach

b. : a part (as the pharynx, throat, esophagus) of this passage


a. : a capacity for swallowing : appetite

measures the honesty and understanding of mankind by a capaciousness of their swallow — Henry Fielding

b. : a capacity for believing

he believes with the aid of those who have a bigger swallow — Leo Stein


a. : an instance of swallowing : gulp

ate the canapé in one swallow

b. : an amount that can be swallowed at one time

took a swallow of brandy to clear his head

5. : an aperture in a block on a ship between the sheave and frame through which the rope reeves

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.