Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An area of low-lying land that is frequently flooded, especially one dominated by woody plants.
  • noun A lowland region saturated with water.
  • noun A situation or place fraught with difficulties and imponderables.
  • intransitive verb To drench in or cover with or as if with water.
  • intransitive verb To inundate or burden; overwhelm.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To fill (a ship or boat) with water to the point of sinking it.
  • intransitive verb To become full of water or sink.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In lumbering, to clear (the ground) of under-brush, fallen trees, and other obstructions preparatory to constructing a logging-road or opening out a gutter-road.
  • To plunge, whelm, or sink in a swamp, or as in a swamp.
  • To plunge into inextricable difficulties; overwhelm; ruin; hence, to outbalance; exceed largely in numbers.
  • Nautical, to overset, sink, or cause to become filled, as a boat, in water; whelm.
  • To cut out (a road) into a forest. See swamper.
  • To sink or stick in a swamp; hence, to be plunged in inextricable difficulties.
  • To become filled with water and sink, as a boat; founder; hence, to be ruined; be wrecked.
  • noun A piece of wet, spongy land; low ground saturated with water; soft, wet ground which may have a growth of certain kinds of trees, but is unfit for agricultural or pastoral purposes.
  • noun In coal-mining, a local depression in a coal-bed, in which water may collect.
  • noun A shallow lake.
  • Thin; slender; lean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To plunge or sink into a swamp.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To cause (a boat) to become filled with water; to capsize or sink by whelming with water.
  • transitive verb Fig.: To plunge into difficulties and perils; to overwhelm; to ruin; to wreck.
  • noun Wet, spongy land; soft, low ground saturated with water, but not usually covered with it; marshy ground away from the seashore.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Redwing (b).
  • noun (Bot.) skunk cabbage.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an Asiatic deer (Rucervus Duvaucelli) of India.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The European purple gallinule.
  • noun (Bot.) an American shrub (Azalea viscosa syn. Rhododendron viscosa or Rhododendron viscosum) growing in swampy places, with fragrant flowers of a white color, or white tinged with rose; -- called also swamp pink and white swamp honeysuckle.
  • noun a hook and chain used by lumbermen in handling logs. Cf. Cant hook.
  • noun (Med.) See Prairie itch, under Prairie.
  • noun (Bot.) a shrub (Kalmia glauca) having small leaves with the lower surface glaucous.
  • noun (Bot.) red maple. See Maple.
  • noun (Bot.) a name given to several kinds of oak which grow in swampy places, as swamp Spanish oak (Quercus palustris), swamp white oak (Q. bicolor), swamp post oak (Q. lyrata).
  • noun (Min.), bog ore; limonite.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of several Australian game birds of the genera Synoicus and Excalfatoria, allied to the European partridges.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the chewink.
  • noun (Bot.) a small North American tree of the genus Magnolia (M. glauca) with aromatic leaves and fragrant creamy-white blossoms; -- called also sweet bay.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a common North American sparrow (Melospiza Georgiana, or M. palustris), closely resembling the song sparrow. It lives in low, swampy places.
  • noun (Bot.) See Pussy willow, under Pussy.
  • intransitive verb To sink or stick in a swamp; figuratively, to become involved in insuperable difficulties.
  • intransitive verb To become filled with water, as a boat; to founder; to capsize or sink; figuratively, to be ruined; to be wrecked.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A piece of wet, spongy land; low ground saturated with water; soft, wet ground which may have a growth of certain kinds of trees, but is unfit for agricultural or pastoral purposes.
  • noun A type of wetland that stretches for vast distances, and is home to many creatures who have adapted specifically to that environment.
  • verb To drench or fill with water.
  • verb To overwhelm; to make too busy or overrun capacity.

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

  • noun a situation fraught with difficulties and imponderables
  • noun low land that is seasonally flooded; has more woody plants than a marsh and better drainage than a bog
  • verb fill quickly beyond capacity; as with a liquid
  • verb drench or submerge or be drenched or submerged

Etymologies

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

[Perhaps of Low German origin .]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From a fusion of Middle English swam ("swamp, muddy pool, bog, marsh", also "fungus, mushroom"), from Old English swamm ("mushroom, fungus, sponge") and Middle English sompe ("marsh, morass"), from Middle Dutch somp, sump ("marsh, swamp") or Middle Low German sump ("marsh, swamp"), from Old Saxon *sump (“swamp, marsh”); all from Proto-Germanic *swumpuz, *swampuz, *swambaz, *swammaz (“sponge, tree-fungus”), from Proto-Indo-European *swombh- (“sponge, tree-fungus, swamp”). Cognate with Dutch zwamp ("swamp, marsh, fen"), Middle Low German swamp ("sponge, mushroom"), Dutch zump, somp ("swamp, lake, marshy place"), German Sumpf ("swamp"), Swedish sump ("swamp"). Related also to Dutch zwam ("fungus, punk, tinder"), German Schwamm ("mushroom, fungus, sponge"), Swedish svamp ("mushroom, fungus, sponge"), Icelandic svampur, svepper ("fungus"), Gothic  (swumsl, "a ditch"). Related to sump, swim.

Examples

  • Boreal forrest on flat land or a Florida swamp is a bad place to be if you don't know how to find your way around in the woods.

    What is your greatest fear while in the woods?

  • Boreal forrest on flat land or a Florida swamp is a bad place to be if you don't know how to find your way around in the woods.

    What is your greatest fear while in the woods?

  • It was legendary producer Jerry Wexler who coined the phrase "swamp" to describe the music coming out of studios in Macon, Ga., and Muscle Shoals, Ala.

    Rapping With the Original Doggfather

  • But volunteer Ed Mendel believes they were not able to go where he can on what he calls swamp thing, a vehicle designed for hunting pigs and deer in the Everglades and modified for rescue work.

    CNN Transcript Oct 4, 2005

  • To do that Kappe's team is taking various routes -- most of which involve breeding large numbers of these dangerous animals in warm, soupy trays in what he calls the "swamp room."

    Reuters: Press Release

  • To do that Kappe's team is taking various routes -- most of which involve breeding large numbers of these dangerous animals in warm, soupy trays in what he calls the "swamp room."

    Reuters: Press Release

  • The author describes the use of specific terms and the problems associated with them, beginning with the word swamp, which is followed by creek, folly, tump, and gurnet.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XXIII No 4

  • To improve upon nature by draining a malarial swamp is permitted him; to improve upon nature's methods and breed swifter carrier-pigeons and finer horses than she has ever bred is also permitted; but to improve upon nature in the breeding of the human, that is a sacrilege which cannot be condoned!

    The Kempton-Wace Letters

  • We came out on the other side into a narrow strip of forest that separated the blueberry swamp from the great swamp that extended westward.

    CHAPTER XVII

  • A swamp is an accommodating environment for the deaf and arrogant.

    About: Blinded by Science

Comments

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  • To sink or stick in a swamp; figuratively, to become involved in insuperable difficulties.

    February 22, 2011