Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move through water by means of the limbs, fins, or tail.
  • intransitive v. To move as though gliding through water.
  • intransitive v. To float on water or another liquid.
  • intransitive v. To be covered or flooded with or as if with a liquid: chicken swimming in gravy.
  • intransitive v. To possess a superfluity; abound: After winning the lottery, she was swimming in money.
  • intransitive v. To experience a floating or giddy sensation; be dizzy: "his brain still swimming with the effects of the last night's champagne” ( Robert Smith Surtees).
  • intransitive v. To appear to spin or reel lazily: The room swam before my eyes.
  • transitive v. To move through or across (a body of water) by swimming: She swam the channel.
  • transitive v. To execute (a particular stroke) in swimming.
  • transitive v. To cause to swim or float.
  • n. The act of swimming.
  • n. A period of time spent swimming.
  • n. A gliding motion.
  • n. A state of dizziness.
  • n. An area, as of a river, abounding in fish.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or used for swimming: a swim mask.
  • idiom in the swim Active in the general current of affairs.
  • idiom swim against the stream To move counter to a prevailing trend.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To float.
  • v. To move through the water, without touching the bottom; to propel oneself in water by natural means.
  • v. 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.
  • v. To cause to swim.
  • n. An act or instance of swimming.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of swimming; a gliding motion, like that of one swimming.
  • n. The sound, or air bladder, of a fish.
  • n. A part of a stream much frequented by fish.
  • intransitive v. To be supported by water or other fluid; not to sink; to float.
  • intransitive v. To move progressively in water by means of strokes with the hands and feet, or the fins or the tail.
  • intransitive v. To be overflowed or drenched.
  • intransitive v. Fig.: To be as if borne or floating in a fluid.
  • intransitive v. To be filled with swimming animals.
  • intransitive v. To be dizzy; to have an unsteady or reeling sensation.
  • transitive v. To pass or move over or on by swimming.
  • transitive v. To cause or compel to swim; to make to float.
  • transitive v. To immerse in water that the lighter parts may float.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To float on or in water or other fluid.
  • To move on or in water by natural means of locomotion, as an animal, many of which can so move, though the water be not their natural element, and swimming not their habit.
  • Hence, to move or be propelled on or through water by any means.
  • To glide with a smooth motion, literally or figuratively.
  • To be flooded; be overflowed or drenched.
  • To overflow; abound; have abundance.
  • To pass or cross by swimming; move on or in by swimming: as, to swim a stream.
  • To immerse in water, that the lighter parts may swim: as, to swim wheat for seed.
  • To cause to swim or float: as, to swim a horse across a river.
  • To furnish with sufficient depth of water to swim in.
  • To be dizzy or vertiginous; have giddiness; have a sensation as if the head were turning round; also, to have, or appear to have, a whirling motion: as, everything swam before his eyes.
  • In cricket, to curve in the air: said of the ball.
  • n. The act of swimming; period or extent of swimming: as, to take a swim.
  • n. A smooth swaying gliding motion.
  • n. The sound or swimming-bladder of a fish.
  • n. A part of a stream, or other piece of water, deep and free from rocks and other obstructions, and much frequented by fish.
  • n. A dizziness; swoon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be covered with or submerged in a liquid
  • v. travel through water
  • n. the act of swimming
  • v. be dizzy or giddy
  • v. move as if gliding through water
  • v. be afloat either on or below a liquid surface and not sink to the bottom

Etymologies

Middle English swimmen, from Old English swimman.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English swimmen, from Old English swimman ("to swim, float") (class III strong verb; past tense swamm, past participle geswummen), from Proto-Germanic *swimmanan (“to swoon, lose consciousness, swim”). Cognate with West Frisian swimme ("to swim, float"), Dutch zwemmen ("to swim"), German schwimmen ("to swim"), Danish svømme ("to swim"), Swedish simma ("to swim"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Arm-based rock 'n roll dance of the 1960s with stylized arm movements simulating swimming.
    Bobby Freeman had two hits referring to this style of dance.
    C'mon And Swim / C'mon And Swim (Part 2) - 1964

    February 24, 2008