Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To move with a hissing or whistling sound.
  • intransitive verb To rustle, as silk.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move with a swishing sound.
  • intransitive verb To swirl or agitate (a liquid) in a glass or in the mouth with a swishing sound.
  • intransitive verb To whip with a rod.
  • noun A sharp whistling or rustling sound.
  • noun A movement making such a sound.
  • noun Basketball A shot that goes through the net of the basket without hitting the backboard or rim.
  • noun A rod used for flogging.
  • noun Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a gay man.
  • adjective Chiefly British Fashionable; posh.
  • adjective Offensive Slang Effeminate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A sound as of water lapping the shore, or of swift movement through the air; a rustling.
  • noun A swish-broom.
  • In a swishing manner, or with a swishing sound; with a swish.
  • To flog; lash.
  • To flourish; brandish; make quick, cutting motions with; switch.
  • To affect by swishing: as, to swish off the heads of flowers with a cane.
  • To move, or make a movement, with a swash or flourish, or with a sound like the washing of small waves on the shore, or of swift movement through the air, of which the word swish is imitative.

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

  • intransitive verb To dash; to swash.
  • transitive verb To flourish, so as to make the sound swish.
  • transitive verb Slang To flog; to lash.
  • noun colloq. A sound of quick movement, as of something whirled through the air.
  • noun (Naut.), engraving Light driven spray.

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

  • adjective UK, colloquial sophisticated; fashionable; smooth.
  • adjective effeminate.
  • noun A short rustling, hissing or whistling sound, often made by friction.
  • noun A sound of liquid flowing inside a container.
  • noun A movement of an animal's tail
  • noun A twig or bundle of twigs, used for administering beatings; a switch
  • noun basketball A successful basketball shot that does not touch the rim or backboard.
  • noun An effeminate male homosexual.
  • verb To make a rustling sound while moving.
  • verb basketball To make a shot, as a perfect swish.

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

  • verb move with or cause to move with a whistling or hissing sound
  • noun a brushing or rustling sound
  • adjective elegant and fashionable

Etymologies

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

[Imitative.]

Examples

  • He saw nothing; but heard lively breathing, and a _swish, swish, swish_; next, a weak, mewlike cry.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy

  • He heard the repeated and rapid _swish, swish, swish_, of wavelets driven against the float, which rose and fell gently beneath his feet.

    The Adventures of Bobby Orde

  • He had three assists, including a sweet one from underneath that resulted in a 3-point swish from a wide-open Chauncey Billups.

    USATODAY.com

  • Jackson opened the third quarter with a swish from the top of the key to tie the game.

    USATODAY.com

  • And there was a windy sound, a thin swish followed by a crisp and hollow contact.

    A Record Book for Small Farmers

  • And there was a windy sound, a thin swish followed by a crisp and hollow contact.

    A Record Book for Small Farmers

  • Taping the rim the guards should be able to shoot the ball blind folded … hearing the sound of the swish is a beautiful thing.

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

  • Until I get the knack of sewing, I'm using camouflage as my ally. :pIronically, one of my first projects was a Regency gown no "swish" there in cream silk!

    Vague Questions, Answered Vaguely - A Dress A Day

  • The moment is powerful and pungent, and it carries with it the sight and sound and feel of possibilities both real and imagined; the "swish" of ball hitting net for the first time as a clapping, bounding five-year-old dreams of becoming the next Michael Jordan; the red haze of a sunset bleeding into the greens of a forest on an aspiring artist's debut canvas ...

    In the Matter of George W. Bush v. the Constitution

  • And when these things kind of swish into the south, it kind of forces them down, kind of putting a lid on it and naturally they don't want to do that.

    CNN Transcript Sep 9, 2008

Comments

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  • "It was July. In the large, dull house they were imprisoned by the swish and gurgle and all the hundred sounds of rain."

    – John Collier, the opening of "Wet Saturday", Fancies and Goodnights

    January 27, 2008

  • Nothing but net!

    October 10, 2008

  • The fashion version of "Ooo swish!" - spotted in a 1930 film reel.
    http://youtu.be/U9eAiy0IGBI?t=1m1s
    staunch etymologists may want to double check the date of the audio on that film.

    March 2, 2015