What does swell mean?

Here's a list of possible definitions for the term swell:

Princeton's WordNet

  1. swell, crestless wave(noun)

    the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea

  2. swell(noun)

    a rounded elevation (especially one on an ocean floor)

  3. swell(noun)

    a crescendo followed by a decrescendo

  4. dandy, dude, fop, gallant, sheik, beau, swell, fashion plate, clotheshorse(adj)

    a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance

  5. bang-up, bully, corking, cracking, dandy, great, groovy, keen, neat, nifty, not bad(p), peachy, slap-up, swell, smashing(verb)

    very good

    "he did a bully job"; "a neat sports car"; "had a great time at the party"; "you look simply smashing"

  6. swell(verb)

    increase in size, magnitude, number, or intensity

    "The music swelled to a crescendo"

  7. swell, puff up(verb)

    become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger

    "The mother was swelling with importance when she spoke of her son"

  8. swell, swell up, intumesce, tumefy, tumesce(verb)

    expand abnormally

    "The bellies of the starving children are swelling"

  9. well up, swell(verb)

    come up (as of feelings and thoughts, or other ephemeral things)

    "Strong emotions welled up"; "Smoke swelled from it"

  10. well, swell(verb)

    come up, as of a liquid

    "Tears well in her eyes"; "the currents well up"

  11. swell(verb)

    cause to become swollen

    "The water swells the wood"


  1. swell(Noun)

    A long series of ocean waves, generally produced by wind, and lasting after the wind has ceased.

  2. swell(Noun)

    A gradual crescendo followed by diminuendo.

  3. swell(Noun)

    A device for controlling the volume of a pipe organ.

  4. swell(Noun)

    A division in a pipe organ, usually the largest enclosed division.

  5. swell(Noun)

    A hillock or similar raised area of terrain.

  6. swell(Noun)

    A person who is dressed in a fancy or elegant manner.

  7. swell(Noun)

    A person of high social standing; an important person.

  8. swell(Verb)

    To become bigger, especially due to being engorged.

  9. swell(Verb)

    To cause to become bigger.

  10. swell(Adjective)


  11. Origin: From swellen, from swellan, from swellanan, of unknown origin. Cognate with zwellen, schwellen, svälla.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Swell(verb)

    to grow larger; to dilate or extend the exterior surface or dimensions, by matter added within, or by expansion of the inclosed substance; as, the legs swell in dropsy; a bruised part swells; a bladder swells by inflation

  2. Swell(verb)

    to increase in size or extent by any addition; to increase in volume or force; as, a river swells, and overflows its banks; sounds swell or diminish

  3. Swell(verb)

    to rise or be driven into waves or billows; to heave; as, in tempest, the ocean swells into waves

  4. Swell(verb)

    to be puffed up or bloated; as, to swell with pride

  5. Swell(verb)

    to be inflated; to belly; as, the sails swell

  6. Swell(verb)

    to be turgid, bombastic, or extravagant; as, swelling words; a swelling style

  7. Swell(verb)

    to protuberate; to bulge out; as, a cask swells in the middle

  8. Swell(verb)

    to be elated; to rise arrogantly

  9. Swell(verb)

    to grow upon the view; to become larger; to expand

  10. Swell(verb)

    to become larger in amount; as, many little debts added, swell to a great amount

  11. Swell(verb)

    to act in a pompous, ostentatious, or arrogant manner; to strut; to look big

  12. Swell(verb)

    to increase the size, bulk, or dimensions of; to cause to rise, dilate, or increase; as, rains and dissolving snow swell the rivers in spring; immigration swells the population

  13. Swell(verb)

    to aggravate; to heighten

  14. Swell(verb)

    to raise to arrogance; to puff up; to inflate; as, to be swelled with pride or haughtiness

  15. Swell(verb)

    to augment gradually in force or loudness, as the sound of a note

  16. Swell(noun)

    the act of swelling

  17. Swell(noun)

    gradual increase

  18. Swell(noun)

    increase or augmentation in bulk; protuberance

  19. Swell(noun)

    increase in height; elevation; rise

  20. Swell(noun)

    increase of force, intensity, or volume of sound

  21. Swell(noun)

    increase of power in style, or of rhetorical force

  22. Swell(noun)

    a gradual ascent, or rounded elevation, of land; as, an extensive plain abounding with little swells

  23. Swell(noun)

    a wave, or billow; especially, a succession of large waves; the roll of the sea after a storm; as, a heavy swell sets into the harbor

  24. Swell(noun)

    a gradual increase and decrease of the volume of sound; the crescendo and diminuendo combined; -- generally indicated by the sign

  25. Swell(noun)

    a showy, dashing person; a dandy

  26. Swell(adj)

    having the characteristics of a person of rank and importance; showy; dandified; distinguished; as, a swell person; a swell neighborhood

  27. Origin: [AS. swellan; akin to D. zwellen, OS. & OHG. swellan, G. schwellen, Icel. svella, Sw. svlla.]


  1. Swell

    Swell is an indie rock band formed in San Francisco in 1989 when David Freel and Sean Kirkpatrick decided to record an album.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Swell

    swel, v.i. to grow larger: to expand: to rise into waves: to heave: to be inflated: to bulge out: to grow louder: to be bombastic, to strut: to become elated, arrogant, or angry: to grow upon the view: to grow more violent: to grow louder, as a note.—v.t. to increase the size of: to aggravate: to increase the sound of: to raise to arrogance: to augment the sound of:—pa.p. swelled or swollen (swōln).—n. act of swelling: a bulge or protuberance: increase in size: an increase and a succeeding decrease in the volume of a tone: a gradual rise of ground: a wave or billow or succession of them in one direction, as after a storm: a distinct set of pipes in an organ, enclosed in a case furnished with movable shutters which being more or less opened by means of a pedal, produce a swell of sound: (geol.) an upward protrusion of strata from whose central region the beds dip quaquaversally at a low angle: a strutting foppish fellow, a dandy.—adj. fashionable.—n. Swell′dom, the fashionable world generally.—adj. Swell′ing (B.), inflated, proud, haughty.—n. protuberance: a tumour: a rising, as of passion: (B.) inflation by pride.—adj. Swell′ish, foppish, dandified.—ns. Swell′-mob, well-dressed pickpockets collectively; Swell′-mobs′man, a well-dressed pickpocket. [A.S. swellan; Ger. schwellen.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. swell

    Ocean waves that have traveled out of their fetch. Swell characteristically exhibits a more regular and longer period and has flatter crests than waves within their fetch.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. swell

    A rolling wave which seldom breaks unless it meets resistance, generally denoting a continuous heaving, which remains for some time after the wind which caused it has subsided. Also, the gradual thickening of the muzzle of a gun, hounds of a mast, &c.

Suggested Resources

  1. swell

    Song lyrics by swell -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by swell on the Lyrics.com website.

Etymology and Origins

  1. Swell

    Slang for one of the upper classes, no doubt suggested by the phrase: “The bloated aristocracy.” Also applied to an overdressed person puffed out with the idea of his own importance.

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'swell' in Verbs Frequency: #1088

Anagrams for swell »

  1. wells, Wells

  2. Wells

How to pronounce swell?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say swell in sign language?

  1. swell


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of swell in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of swell in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of swell in a Sentence

  1. Brian Power:

    There is definitely a New Year's swell.

  2. Surfer Sonia Lynn Gabriel:

    The way( Lebanon's) swell comes is really random.

  3. Manousos Doukakis:

    The (measures) won't roll, tax evasion will swell.

  4. Chris Daley:

    He started vomiting, his eyes were starting to swell and he couldn't speak properly.

  5. Nabil Majeed:

    I miss going outside in the sun. Now the sun makes my eye swell, and I always feel like something is in front of my eye.

Images & Illustrations of swell

  1. swellswellswellswellswell

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