American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To increase in size or volume as a result of internal pressure; expand.
- v. To increase in force, size, number, or degree: Membership in the club swelled.
- v. To grow in loudness or intensity: "The din in front swelled to a tremendous chorus” ( Stephen Crane).
- v. To bulge out, as a sail.
- v. To rise or extend above the surrounding level, as clouds.
- v. To rise in swells, as the sea.
- v. To be or become filled or puffed up, as with pride, arrogance, or anger.
- v. To rise from within: Rage swelled within me.
- v. To cause to increase in volume, size, number, degree, or intensity: The governor's full public disclosure only swelled the chorus of protests.
- v. To fill with emotion.
- n. The act or process of swelling.
- n. The condition of being swollen.
- n. A swollen part; a bulge or protuberance.
- n. A long wave on water that moves continuously without breaking.
- n. A rise in the land; a rounded elevation.
- n. Informal One who is fashionably dressed or socially prominent: society swells.
- n. Music A crescendo followed by a gradual diminuendo.
- n. Music The sign indicating such a crescendo.
- n. Music A device on an instrument, such as an organ or harpsichord, for regulating volume.
- adj. Informal Fashionably elegant; stylish.
- adj. Informal Excellent; wonderful: had a swell time.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To grow in bulk; bulge; dilate or expand; increase in size or extent by addition of any kind; grow in volume, intensity, or force: literally or figuratively, and used in a great variety of applications.
- To belly, as sails; bulge out, as a cask in the middle; protuberate.
- To rise in altitude; rise above a given level.
- To be puffed up with some feeling; show outwardly elation or excitement; hence, to strut; look big: as, to swell with pride, anger, or rage.
- To rise and gather; well up.
- To increase the bulk, size, amount, or number of; cause to expand, dilate, or increase.
- To inflate; puff up; raise to arrogance.
- To increase gradually the intensity, force, or volume of: as, to swell a tone. See swell, n., 4.
- n. The act of swelling; augmentation in bulk; expansion; distention; increase in volume, intensity, number, force, etc.
- n. An elevation above a level, especially a gradual and even rise: as, a swell of land.
- n. A wave, especially when long and unbroken; collectively, the waves or fluctuations of the sea after a storm, often called ground-swell; billows; a surge: as, a heavy swell.
- n. In music: A gradual increase and following decrease in loudness or force; a crescendo combined with a diminuendo. Compare messa di voce.
- n. The sign ⟨ or ⟩, used to denote the above.
- n. A mechanical contrivance in the harpsichord and in both the pipe-organ and the reed-organ by which the loudness of the tones may be varied by opening or shutting the lid or set of blinds of a closed box, case, or chamber within which are the sounding strings, pipes, or vibrators. Its most common modern form is that of Venetian blinds, which are controlled by a pedal or knee-lever. The swell was introduced into the organ from the harpsichord about 1712.
- n. Same as swell-box, swell-keyboard, swell-organ, or swell-pedal. See also organ, 6.
- n. In a cannon, an enlargement near the muzzle: it is not present in guns as now made.
- n. In a gunstock, the enlarged and thickened part.
- n. In geology, an extensive area from whose central region the strata dip quaquaversally to a moderate amount, so as to give rise to a geologically and topographically peculiar type of structure.
- n. In coal-mining, a channel washed out or in some way eroded in a coal-seam, and afterward filled up with clay or sand. Also called, in some English coal-fields, a horse, and in others a want; sometimes also a horse-back, and in the South Wales coal-field a swine-back.
- n. A man of great claims to admiration; one of distinguished personality; hence, one who puts on such an appearance, or endeavors to appear important or distinguished; a dandy: as, a howling swell (a conspicuously great swell).
- n. In a stop-motion of a loom, a curved lever in the shuttle-box, which raises a catch out of engagement with the stop or stop-finger whenever the shuttle fairly enters the shuttle-box, but which, when the shuttle fails to enter, permits such engagement, thus bringing into action mechanism that stops the loom. Compare stop-motion.
- First-rate of its kind; hence, elegant; stylish.
- n. A long series of ocean waves, generally produced by wind, and lasting after the wind has ceased.
- n. music A gradual crescendo followed by diminuendo.
- n. music A device for controlling the volume of a pipe organ.
- n. music A division in a pipe organ, usually the largest enclosed division.
- n. A hillock or similar raised area of terrain.
- n. informal A person who is dressed in a fancy or elegant manner.
- n. informal A person of high social standing; an important person.
- v. intransitive To become bigger, especially due to being engorged.
- v. transitive To cause to become bigger.
- adj. informal Excellent.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To grow larger; to dilate or extend the exterior surface or dimensions, by matter added within, or by expansion of the inclosed substance
- v. To increase in size or extent by any addition; to increase in volume or force
- v. To rise or be driven into waves or billows; to heave.
- v. To be puffed up or bloated.
- v. To be inflated; to belly.
- v. To be turgid, bombastic, or extravagant
- v. To protuberate; to bulge out.
- v. To be elated; to rise arrogantly.
- v. To grow upon the view; to become larger; to expand.
- v. To become larger in amount.
- v. To act in a pompous, ostentatious, or arrogant manner; to strut; to look big.
- v. To increase the size, bulk, or dimensions of; to cause to rise, dilate, or increase.
- v. To aggravate; to heighten.
- v. To raise to arrogance; to puff up; to inflate.
- v. (Mus.) To augment gradually in force or loudness, as the sound of a note.
- n. The act of swelling.
- n. Gradual increase.
- n. Increase or augmentation in bulk; protuberance.
- n. Increase in height; elevation; rise.
- n. Increase of force, intensity, or volume of sound.
- n. Increase of power in style, or of rhetorical force.
- n. A gradual ascent, or rounded elevation, of land.
- n. A wave, or billow; especially, a succession of large waves; the roll of the sea after a storm.
- n. (Mus.) A gradual increase and decrease of the volume of sound; the crescendo and diminuendo combined; -- generally indicated by the sign.
- n. Slang A showy, dashing person; a dandy.
- adj. Slang Having the characteristics of a person of rank and importance; showy; dandified; distinguished.
- v. come up (as of feelings and thoughts, or other ephemeral things)
- n. a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance
- n. the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea
- n. a rounded elevation (especially one on an ocean floor)
- v. increase in size, magnitude, number, or intensity
- v. cause to become swollen
- v. come up, as of a liquid
- v. expand abnormally
- adj. very good
- n. a crescendo followed by a decrescendo
- v. become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger
- From Middle English swellen, from Old English swellan ("to swell"), from Proto-Germanic *swellanan (“to swell”), of unknown origin. Cognate with Dutch zwellen ("to swell"), German schwellen ("to swell"), Swedish svälla ("to swell"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English swellen, from Old English swellan. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“* I have decided that "swell" is the word for February.”
“From the head of the lawn, on the first soft swell from the valley-level, looked down the deep-porched, many-windowed house.”
“To let his brain swell and keep the blood flowing, thereby preventing the damage from worsening, doctors removed virtually the entire left side of his skull, a procedure known as a craniectomy.”
“A night of calm, when sleep is well-nigh impossible in the sultry, muggy air, may be followed by a day of blazing sun and an oily swell from the south'ard, connoting great gales in that area of ocean we are sailing toward -- or all day long the Elsinore, under an overcast sky, royals and sky sails furled, may plunge and buck under wind-pressure into a short and choppy head-sea.”
“I'm all for a sound and reasoned approach to any health and govt budget concerns, but what has been allowed to naturally and artificially swell is so close to a forest fire that the extremist who started it should face some type of charge and not a "Thank you" from like winged.”
“HURRAY – looks like a grassroots swell is a-comin '!!!”
“The first native to surf a German swell is said to have been Uwe Drath, a lifeguard on Sylt, in 1952.”
“Miami saw the margin swell to 12 midway through the second quarter and then to 15 when Wade soared past Desmond Mason and Collison for what became a three-point play with 2.8 seconds remaining in the third, as cries of ` ` M-V-P!”
“A night of calm, when sleep is well - nigh impossible in the sultry, muggy air, may be followed by a day of blazing sun and an oily swell from the south'ard, connoting great gales in that area of ocean we are sailing toward -- or all day long the Elsinore, under an overcast sky, royals and sky sails furled, may plunge and buck under wind-pressure into a short and choppy head-sea.”
“What's the long term swell forecast for this winter?”
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