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

  • intransitive verb To move through or on top of water by moving the limbs, fins, or tail or by undulating the body.
  • intransitive verb To play or relax in water.
  • intransitive verb To float on water or another liquid.
  • intransitive verb To be covered or flooded with a liquid.
  • intransitive verb To possess a superfluity; abound.
  • intransitive verb To experience a floating or giddy sensation; be dizzy.
  • intransitive verb To appear to float or spin slowly.
  • intransitive verb To move through or across (a body of water or a distance) by swimming.
  • intransitive verb To execute (a particular stroke) in swimming.
  • noun The act of swimming.
  • noun A distance covered by or period of time spent swimming.
  • noun An area, as of a river, abounding in fish.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or used for swimming.
  • idiom (in the swim) Active in the general current of affairs.
  • idiom (swim against the stream) To move counter to a prevailing trend.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of swimming; period or extent of swimming: as, to take a swim.
  • noun A smooth swaying gliding motion.
  • noun The sound or swimming-bladder of a fish.
  • noun A part of a stream, or other piece of water, deep and free from rocks and other obstructions, and much frequented by fish.
  • noun A dizziness; swoon.
  • 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.

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

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

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

  • verb intransitive, archaic To float.


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

[Middle English swimmen, from Old English swimman.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").


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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