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

  • transitive v. To cause (food or drink, for example) to pass through the mouth and throat into the stomach.
  • transitive v. To put up with (something unpleasant): swallowed the insults and kept on working.
  • transitive v. To refrain from expressing; suppress: swallow one's feelings.
  • transitive v. To consume or destroy as if by ingestion; devour: a building that was swallowed up by fire.
  • transitive v. Slang To believe without question: swallowed the alibi.
  • transitive v. To take back; retract: swallow one's words.
  • transitive v. To say inarticulately; mumble: The actor swallowed his lines.
  • intransitive v. To perform the act of swallowing.
  • n. The act of swallowing.
  • n. An amount swallowed.
  • n. Nautical The channel through which a rope runs in a block or a mooring chock.
  • n. Any of various small graceful swift-flying passerine birds of the family Hirundinidae, having long pointed wings, a usually notched or forked tail, and a large mouth for catching flying insects and noted for their regular migrations in large numbers, often over long distances.
  • n. Any of various similar birds, such as a swift.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A deep chasm or abyss in the earth.
  • n. The amount swallowed in one gulp; the act of swallowing.
  • n. 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of passerine birds of the family Hirundinidæ, 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.
  • n. Any one of numerous species of swifts which resemble the true swallows in form and habits, as the common American chimney swallow, or swift.
  • n. The aperture in a block through which the rope reeves.
  • n. The act of swallowing.
  • n. The gullet, or esophagus; the throat.
  • n. Taste; relish; inclination; liking.
  • n. Capacity for swallowing; voracity.
  • n. As much as is, or can be, swallowed at once.
  • n. That which ingulfs; a whirlpool.
  • intransitive v. To perform the act of swallowing.
  • transitive v. To take into the stomach; to receive through the gullet, or esophagus, into the stomach.
  • transitive v. To draw into an abyss or gulf; to ingulf; to absorb -- usually followed by up.
  • transitive v. To receive or embrace, as opinions or belief, without examination or scruple; to receive implicitly.
  • transitive v. To engross; to appropriate; -- usually with up.
  • transitive v. To occupy; to take up; to employ.
  • transitive v. To seize and waste; to exhaust; to consume.
  • transitive v. To retract; to recant.
  • transitive v. To put up with; to bear patiently or without retaliation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To take into the stomach through the throat, as food or drink; receive through the organs of deglutition; take into the body through the mouth.
  • Hence, in figurative use, to draw or take in, in any way; absorb; appropriate; exhaust; consume; engulf: usually followed by up.
  • Specifically To take into the mind readily or credulously; receive or embrace, as opinions or belief, without examination or scruple; receive implicitly; drink in: sometimes with down.
  • To put up with; bear; take patiently: as, to swallow an affront.
  • To retract; recant.
  • = Syn. 1–3. Engross, Engulf, etc. See absorb.
  • To perform the act of swallowing: accomplish deglutition.
  • n. The cavity of the throat and gullet, or passage through which food and drink pass; the fauces, pharynx, and gullet or esophagus leading from the mouth to the stomach; especially, the organs of deglutition collectively.
  • n. A yawning gulf; an abyss; a whirlpool.
  • n. A deep hollow in the ground; a pit.
  • n. The space in a block between the groove of the sheave and the shell, through which the rope reeves.
  • n. A funnel-shaped cavity occurring not uncommonly in limestone regions, and especially in the chalk districts of France and England. Also called swallow-hole or sinkhole. See sink-hole.
  • n. The act of swallowing.
  • n. That which is swallowed; as much as is swallowed at once; a mouthful.
  • n. Taste; relish; liking; inclination: as, “I have no swallow for it,”
  • n. A swallower; a fish that inflates itself by swallowing air; a puffer or swell-fish.
  • n. A fissirostral oscine passerine bird with nine primaries; any member of the family Hirundinidæ, of which there are numerous genera and about 100 species, found in all parts of the world. ; ; ;
  • n. Some bird likened to or mistaken for a swallow.
  • n. A breed of domestic pigeons with short legs, squat form, white body, colored wings, and shell-crest. Numerous color-varieties are noted. The birds sometimes called fairies are usually classed as swallows.
  • n. The stormy petrel. Also sea-swallow.

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

  • v. enclose or envelop completely, as if by swallowing
  • v. tolerate or accommodate oneself to
  • v. utter indistinctly
  • n. small long-winged songbird noted for swift graceful flight and the regularity of its migrations
  • n. the act of swallowing
  • v. keep from expressing
  • v. take back what one has said
  • v. believe or accept without questioning or challenge
  • n. a small amount of liquid food
  • v. pass through the esophagus as part of eating or drinking
  • v. engulf and destroy


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

Middle English swalowen, from Old English swelgan.
Middle English swalowe, from Old English swealwe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English swolowen, swolwen, swolȝen, swelwen, swelȝen, from Old English swelgan ("to swallow, incorporate, absorb, imbibe, devour"), from Proto-Germanic *swelganan (“to swallow, revel, devour”), from Proto-Indo-European *swelk- (“to gulp”). Cognate with Dutch zwelgen ("to revel, carouse, guzzle"), German schwelgen ("to delight, indulge"), Swedish svälja ("to swallow, gulp"), Icelandic svelgja ("to swallow"), Old English swillan, swilian ("to swill, wash out, gargle"). See also swill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Late Old English swelg ("gulf, chasm"), from Germanic (related to Etymology 1, above).


  • The silver lining of the spring made its words much easier to catch when it said anything -- for I should tell you that for the most part now it did not speak, or not in any language that I could understand, but rather sang -- and it now said, "_Swallow swallow, drink, swallow_."

    The Five Jars

  • Mind you the title swallow diluted the fun of the ad-Breakfast would have done.


  • The approach here being that the biggest pill we have to swallow is the concept itself – a town plagued with zombie-like lunatics.

    [REVIEW] The Crazies « Giant Killer Squid - Film, Comics, News, Reviews and more

  • That might be good policy, and the public option might make the mandate a whole lot easier to swallow from a political standpoint, but how can you possibly parse that interpretation out of the Constitution?

    The Volokh Conspiracy » A Better Question

  • Equally hard to swallow is the claim that most Egyptian citizens, including those who are close to the opposition, reject international monitoring as an infringement on national sovereignty and an unwanted intervention in domestic affairs.

    Amr Hamzawy: Does Egypt Need International Election Observers?

  • The technologist will ask why the barium swallow is being performed and explain the procedure to both you and your child.

    Barium Swallow

  • A barium swallow is a procedure that primarily evaluates your child's esophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.

    Barium Swallow

  • What I find harder to swallow is the fact that the guy was elected by our citizens.

    tell what you think about obama

  • Harder still to swallow is the numerous information dumps that happen periodically, as a character uncovers some vital element of the story, and turns to recount it to the other characters nearby.

    REVIEW: Spellwright by Blake Charlton

  • Gosh, do these guys squeel when they get a taste of their own medicine (no pun intended), especially when what they're forced to swallow is the truth .. like when you kick over a rock and what's hiding underneath is exposed to sunlight!

    DeMint fires back at 'false' DNC ad


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  • An excellent choice. No it's not.

    September 30, 2007

  • I totally agree with uselessness. Everyone *must* see, at least... Argument clinic.

    September 30, 2007

  • It's actually witty and ironic, if a little stupid. If you're a Yank through and through like me, it helps to watch with subtitles because you'll miss a lot with the thick British accents. :-) It's one of those things everybody should watch, at least once.

    March 29, 2007

  • An alarming number of my friends have Monty Python memorized. I have yet to watch it. It sounds boring.

    March 28, 2007

  • Monty Python, friend. Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time. ;-)

    March 28, 2007

  • Am I missing some kind of pop-culture reference? Probably.

    March 28, 2007

  • Awww. You dropped the ball.

    March 27, 2007

  • I don't know. I'm not an ornithologist. I just learn French.

    March 27, 2007

  • What kind of swallow do you mean, African or European?

    March 27, 2007

  • The French word for swallow (the bird) is beautiful: hirondelle.

    March 27, 2007