What does swim mean?

Definitions for swim

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. swimming, swimverb

    the act of swimming

    "it was the swimming they enjoyed most": "they took a short swim in the pool"

  2. swimverb

    travel through water

    "We had to swim for 20 minutes to reach the shore"; "a big fish was swimming in the tank"

  3. float, swimverb

    be afloat either on or below a liquid surface and not sink to the bottom

  4. swimverb

    be dizzy or giddy

    "my brain is swimming after the bottle of champagne"

  5. swim, drownverb

    be covered with or submerged in a liquid

    "the meat was swimming in a fatty gravy"

  6. swimverb

    move as if gliding through water

    "this snake swims through the soil where it lives"


  1. swimnoun

    An act or instance of swimming.

    I'm going for a swim.

  2. swimverb

    To float.

    sink or swim

  3. swimverb

    To move through the water, without touching the bottom; to propel oneself in water by natural means.

  4. swimverb

    To traverse (a specific body of water, or a specific distance) by swimming; or, to utilize a specific swimming stroke; or, to compete in a specific swimming event.

  5. swimverb

    To cause to swim.

    Half of the guinea pigs were swum daily.

  6. Etymology: From swimmen, from swimman (class III strong verb; past tense swamm, past participle geswummen), from swimmanan. Cognate with swimme, zwemmen, schwimmen, svømme, simma.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Swimverb

    To pass by swimming.

    Sometimes he thought to swim the stormy main,
    By stretch of arms the distant shore to gain. Dryden.

  2. To SWIMverb

    Preterite swam, swom, or swum.

    Etymology: swimman , Saxon; swemmen, Dutch.

    I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola. William Shakespeare.

    We have ships and boats for going under water, and brooking of seas; also swimming-girdles and supporters. Francis Bacon.

    Leap in with me into this angry flood,
    And swim to yonder point. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.

    I have ventur’d,
    Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
    These many summers in a sea of glory;
    But far beyond my depth. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    The soldiers counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out and escape. Acts xxvii. 42.

    The rest driven into the lake, where seeking to save their lives by swimming, they were slain in coming to land by the Spanish horsemen, or else in their swimming shot by the harquebusiers. Richard Knolles.

    Animals swim in the same manner as they go, and need no other way of motion for natation in the water, then for progression upon the land. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    The frighted wolf now swims among the sheep,
    The yellow lion wanders in the deep:
    The stag swims faster than he ran before. Dryden.

    Blue Triton gave the signal from the shore,
    The ready Nereids heard and swam before,
    To smooth the seas. Dryden.

    With tenders of our protection of them from the fury of those who would soon drown them, if they refused to swim down the popular stream with them. Charles I .

    I swom with the tide, and the water under me was buoyant. Dryden.

    She with pretty and with swimming gate
    Follying, her womb then rich with my young squire
    Would imitate. William Shakespeare.

    A hovering mist came swimming o’er his sight,
    And seal’d his eyes in everlasting night. Dryden.

    My slack hand dropt, and all the idle pomp,
    Priests, altars, victims swam before my sight! Smith.

    The fainting soul stood ready wing’d for flight,
    And o’er his eye-balls swum the shades of night. Alexander Pope.

    I am taken with a grievous swimming in my head, and such a mist before my eyes, that I can neither hear nor see. Dryd.

    When the heavens are filled with clouds, when the earth swims in rain, and all nature wears a lowring countenance, I withdraw myself from these uncomfortable scenes into the visionary worlds of art. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    Sudden the ditches swell, the meadows swim. James Thomson.

    They now swim in joy,
    Ere long to swim at large, and laugh; for which
    The world a world of tears must weep. John Milton.


  1. Swim

    C'mon and Swim is a song written by Thomas Coman and Sly Stone and performed by Bobby Freeman. It reached #5 on the U. S. pop chart in 1964. It was featured on his 1964 album C'mon and Swim. The single was produced by Sly Stone. The song ranked #54 on Billboard magazine's Top 100 singles of 1964.


  1. swim

    Swim is a physical activity or movement where a person propels themselves through water using their limbs, typically arms and legs. This can be done for various purposes such as recreation, exercise, or survival. There are different styles or strokes used in swimming, such as freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Swimverb

    to be supported by water or other fluid; not to sink; to float; as, any substance will swim, whose specific gravity is less than that of the fluid in which it is immersed

  2. Swimverb

    to move progressively in water by means of strokes with the hands and feet, or the fins or the tail

  3. Swimverb

    to be overflowed or drenched

  4. Swimverb

    fig.: To be as if borne or floating in a fluid

  5. Swimverb

    to be filled with swimming animals

  6. Swimverb

    to pass or move over or on by swimming; as, to swim a stream

  7. Swimverb

    to cause or compel to swim; to make to float; as, to swim a horse across a river

  8. Swimverb

    to immerse in water that the lighter parts may float; as, to swim wheat in order to select seed

  9. Swimnoun

    the act of swimming; a gliding motion, like that of one swimming

  10. Swimnoun

    the sound, or air bladder, of a fish

  11. Swimnoun

    a part of a stream much frequented by fish

  12. Swimverb

    to be dizzy; to have an unsteady or reeling sensation; as, the head swims

  13. Etymology: [OE. swime dizziness, vertigo, AS. swma; akin to D. zwijm, Icel. svimi dizziness, svina to subside, sva to abate, G. schwindel dizziness, schwinden to disappear, to dwindle, OHG. swnan to dwindle. Cf. Squemish, Swindler.]


  1. Swim

    Swim was the second EP by the British alternative rock band Feeder. It was Feeder's second commercial release, but failed to have much commercial success. The EP had influences of Smashing Pumpkins early work along with Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers and Silverchair that would follow on Polythene. It was re-released in 2001 in an expanded form, with extra tracks. The re-release is considered to be an "album" since it contains more tracks.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Swim

    swim, v.i. to float, as opposed to sink: to move on or in water: to be borne along by a current: to glide along with a waving motion: to be dizzy: to be drenched: to overflow: to abound.—v.t. to pass by swimming: to make to swim or float:—pr.p. swim′ming; pa.t. swam; pa.p. swum or swam.—n. act of swimming: any motion like swimming: air-bladder of a fish.—adj. Swim′mable, capable of being swum.—ns. Swim′mer, one who swims: a web-footed aquatic bird; Swim′meret, one of the abdominal appendages which in the lobster and other Crustacea are used in swimming; Swim′ming, the act of floating or moving on or in the water: dizziness; Swim′ming-bath, a bath large enough for swimming in.—adv. Swim′mingly, in a gliding manner, as if swimming: smoothly, successfully.—ns. Swim′mingness, the state of swimming: a melting look, tearfulness; Swim′ming-pond, an artificial pond adapted for swimming in; Swim′ming-school, a place where swimming is taught; Swim′ming-stone, a cellular variety of flint—float-stone.—In the swim, in the main current, of affairs, business, &c. [A.S. swimman; Ger. schwimmen.]

Editors Contribution

  1. swim

    To move through water.

    To be able to swim is a real gift.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 23, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. SWIM

    What does SWIM stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the SWIM acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SWIM

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Swim is ranked #16707 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Swim surname appeared 1,713 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Swim.

    91.7% or 1,571 total occurrences were White.
    3.4% or 59 total occurrences were Black.
    2% or 35 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.1% or 20 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    1.1% or 20 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.4% or 8 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'swim' in Verbs Frequency: #619

How to pronounce swim?

How to say swim in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of swim in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of swim in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of swim in a Sentence

  1. Lyndon B. Johnson:

    If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read President Can't Swim.

  2. Andrew Schneider:

    A person has three choices in life. You can swim against the tide and get exhausted, or you can tread water and let the tide sweep you away, or you can swim with the tide, and let it take you where it wants you to go.

  3. Abu Omar:

    You can't throw a man who can't swim into the sea and ask him to swim, they have to be well-trained to fight all the threats.

  4. Scott Thompson:

    [ Big Blue Swim School is ] tapping into unmet demand for this service. Financially Big Blue Swim School was Big Blue Swim School and we especially liked that the business owns its own proprietary technology, while the kids are in the pool, there's also staff walking alongside watching and providing information and progress reports back to the parents in real-time via an iPad.

  5. Michele Hlavsa:

    To protect yourself, it's about not swallowing the water you swim in, and to protect others don't swim if you have diarrhea.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for swim

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"swim." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/swim>.

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