What does swallow mean?

Definitions for swallow
ˈswɒl oʊswal·low

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word swallow.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. swallow, supnoun

    a small amount of liquid food

    "a sup of ale"

  2. swallow, drink, deglutitionnoun

    the act of swallowing

    "one swallow of the liquid was enough"; "he took a drink of his beer and smacked his lips"

  3. swallowverb

    small long-winged songbird noted for swift graceful flight and the regularity of its migrations

  4. swallow, get downverb

    pass through the esophagus as part of eating or drinking

    "Swallow the raw fish--it won't kill you!"

  5. swallowverb

    engulf and destroy

    "The Nazis swallowed the Baltic countries"

  6. immerse, swallow, swallow up, bury, eat upverb

    enclose or envelop completely, as if by swallowing

    "The huge waves swallowed the small boat and it sank shortly thereafter"

  7. swallowverb

    utter indistinctly

    "She swallowed the last words of her speech"

  8. swallow, take back, unsay, withdrawverb

    take back what one has said

    "He swallowed his words"

  9. swallowverb

    keep from expressing

    "I swallowed my anger and kept quiet"

  10. accept, live with, swallowverb

    tolerate or accommodate oneself to

    "I shall have to accept these unpleasant working conditions"; "I swallowed the insult"; "She has learned to live with her husband's little idiosyncrasies"

  11. swallowverb

    believe or accept without questioning or challenge

    "Am I supposed to swallow that story?"


  1. swallownoun

    A small, migratory bird of the Hirundinidae family with long, pointed, moon-shaped wings and a forked tail which feeds on the wing by catching insects.

  2. Etymology: Late swelg, from Germanic (related to Etymology 1, above).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Swallownoun

    A small bird of passage, or, as some say, a bird that lies hid and sleeps in the Winter.

    Etymology: swalewe , Saxon.

    The swallow follows not Summer more willingly than we your lordship. William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens.

    That come before the swallow dares. William Shakespeare.

    The swallows make use of celandine, and the linnet of euphragia. More.

    When swallows fleet soar high and sport in air,
    He told us that the welkin would be clear. John Gay.

    The swallow sweeps
    The slimy pool, to build his hanging house
    Intent. James Thomson, Spring.

  2. Swallownoun

    The throat; voracity.

    Etymology: swalewe , Saxon.

    Had this man of merit and mortification been called to account for his ungodly swallow, in gorging down the estates of helpless widows and orphans, he would have told them that it was all for charitable uses. South.

  3. To Swallowverb

    Etymology: swelgan , Saxon; swelgen, Dutch.

    I swallow down my spittle. Job vii. 19.

    If little faults
    Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye,
    Whose capital crimes chew’d, swallow’d, and digested,
    Appear before us? William Shakespeare, Henry V.

    Men are, at a venture, of the religion of the country; and must therefore swallow down opinions, as silly people do empiricks pills, and have nothing to do but believe that they will do the cure. John Locke.

    Consider and judge of it as a matter of reason, and not swallow it without examination as a matter of faith. John Locke.

    Far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy. 2 Sa.

    excels all the inventors of other arts in this, that he has swallowed up the honour of those who succeeded him. Alexander Pope.

    Though you untie the winds, and let them fight
    Against the churches, though the yesty waves
    Confound and swallow navigation up. William Shakespeare.

    I may be pluck’d into the swallowing womb
    Of this deep pit, poor Bassianus’ grave. William Shakespeare, Tit. Andron.

    Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Cor. xv. 54.

    If the earth open her mouth and swallow them up, ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. Num. xvi.

    In bogs swallow’d up and lost. John Milton.

    He hid many things from us, not that they would swallow up our understanding, but divert our attention from what is more important. Decay of Piety.

    Nature would abhor
    To be forced back again upon herself,
    And like a whirlpool swallow her own streams. John Dryden, Oedipus.

    Should not the sad occasion swallow up
    My other cares, and draw them all into it? Addison.

    Cities overturn’d,
    And late at night in swallowing earthquake sunk. James Thomson.

    The necessary provision for life swallows the greatest part of their time. John Locke.

    Corruption swallow’d what the liberal hand
    Of bounty scatter’d. James Thomson, Autumn.

    The priest and the prophet are swallowed up of wine. Is.


  1. Swallow

    The swallows, martins, and saw-wings, or Hirundinidae, are a family of passerine songbirds found around the world on all continents, including occasionally in Antarctica. Highly adapted to aerial feeding, they have a distinctive appearance. The term "swallow" is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the barn swallow. Around 90 species of Hirundinidae are known, divided into 19 genera, with the greatest diversity found in Africa, which is also thought to be where they evolved as hole-nesters. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by contrast, the West and South African swallows are nonmigratory. This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae (the river martins of the genus Pseudochelidon) and Hirundininae (all other swallows, martins, and saw-wings). In the Old World, the name "martin" tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name "swallow" for the more fork-tailed species; however, this distinction does not represent a real evolutionary separation. In the New World, "martin" is reserved for members of the genus Progne. (These two systems are responsible for the same species being called sand martin in the Old World and bank swallow in the New World.)


  1. swallow

    A swallow is a type of small or medium-sized bird from the family Hirundinidae, renowned for their flight ability and elegant aerial movements. It is also a term used to refer to the act of moving food or drink down the throat and into the stomach.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Swallownoun

    any one of numerous species of passerine birds of the family Hirundinidae, especially one of those species in which the tail is deeply forked. They have long, pointed wings, and are noted for the swiftness and gracefulness of their flight

  2. Swallownoun

    any one of numerous species of swifts which resemble the true swallows in form and habits, as the common American chimney swallow, or swift

  3. Swallownoun

    the aperture in a block through which the rope reeves

  4. Swallowverb

    to take into the stomach; to receive through the gullet, or esophagus, into the stomach; as, to swallow food or drink

  5. Swallowverb

    to draw into an abyss or gulf; to ingulf; to absorb -- usually followed by up

  6. Swallowverb

    to receive or embrace, as opinions or belief, without examination or scruple; to receive implicitly

  7. Swallowverb

    to engross; to appropriate; -- usually with up

  8. Swallowverb

    to occupy; to take up; to employ

  9. Swallowverb

    to seize and waste; to exhaust; to consume

  10. Swallowverb

    to retract; to recant; as, to swallow one's opinions

  11. Swallowverb

    to put up with; to bear patiently or without retaliation; as, to swallow an affront or insult

  12. Swallowverb

    to perform the act of swallowing; as, his cold is so severe he is unable to swallow

  13. Swallownoun

    the act of swallowing

  14. Swallownoun

    the gullet, or esophagus; the throat

  15. Swallownoun

    taste; relish; inclination; liking

  16. Swallownoun

    capacity for swallowing; voracity

  17. Swallownoun

    as much as is, or can be, swallowed at once; as, a swallow of water

  18. Swallownoun

    that which ingulfs; a whirlpool

  19. Etymology: [OE. swalowe, AS. swalewe, swealwe; akin to D. zwaluw, OHG. swalawa, G. schwalbe, Icel. & Sw. svala, Dan. svale.]


  1. Swallow

    The swallows and martins are a group of passerine birds in the family Hirundinidae which are characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the Barn Swallow. This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae and Hirundininae. Within the Old World, the name "martin" tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name "swallow" for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. Within the New World, "martin" is reserved for members of the genus Progne. The entire family contains around 83 species in 19 genera. The swallows have a cosmopolitan distribution across the world and breed on all the continents except Antarctica. It is believed that this family originated in Africa as hole-nesters; Africa still has the greatest diversity of species. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of European and North American species are long-distance migrants; by contrast, the West and South African swallows are non-migratory. A few species of swallow and martin are threatened with extinction by human activities, although other species have benefited from human changes to the environment and live around humans.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Swallow

    swol′ō, n. a migratory bird with long wings, which seizes its insect food on the wing: a genus (Hirundo) and family (Hirundinidæ) of passerine birds, with long and pointed wings.—adj. Swall′ow-tailed, like a swallow's tail in form, forked and pointed—of a dress-coat. [A.S. swalewe; Ger. schwalbe.]

  2. Swallow

    swol′ō, v.t. to receive through the gullet into the stomach: to engulf: to absorb: to occupy: to exhaust.—n. Swall′ower. [A.S. swelgan, to swallow; cog. with Ger. schwelgen.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. swallow

    The score of a block.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Swallow is ranked #11003 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Swallow surname appeared 2,891 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Swallow.

    88.9% or 2,572 total occurrences were White.
    4.6% or 133 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    2.4% or 70 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    2.1% or 61 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1% or 29 total occurrences were Black.
    0.9% or 26 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'swallow' in Verbs Frequency: #679

How to pronounce swallow?

How to say swallow in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of swallow in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of swallow in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of swallow in a Sentence

  1. Robin Trotman:

    When the staff's putting themselves at risk in these situations, and they feel like other people aren't willing to take the vaccine, despite their risk, that's, that's a hard one for some people to swallow.

  2. Brian Gorman:

    The [ new and old ] camps will have many of the same elements, but also [ be ] so different that they'll almost be like something entirely separate, it's a hard pill to swallow, but I'm also confident that we will create a unique and thoroughly engaging and creative experience for our kids.

  3. Tomeu Vadell:

    I had to swallow hard not to show my shock to my husband because truly it was horrible.

  4. Chief Thomas Jackson:

    It's a really hard pill to swallow.

  5. Stephen Curry:

    At home in the fourth quarter, I felt like we could go for that dagger punch and didn't really put any pressure on the defense, that's something that is tough to kind of swallow with the opportunity we had in front of us.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for swallow

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"swallow." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 1 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/swallow>.

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    someone who sees an event and reports what happened
    • A. ransom
    • B. plantation
    • C. witness
    • D. disguise

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