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

  • intransitive v. To roll the body about indolently or clumsily in or as if in water, snow, or mud.
  • intransitive v. To luxuriate; revel: wallow in self-righteousness.
  • intransitive v. To be plentifully supplied: wallowing in money.
  • intransitive v. To move with difficulty in a clumsy or rolling manner; flounder: "The car wallowed back through the slush, with ribbons of bright water trickling down the windshield from the roof” ( Anne Tyler).
  • intransitive v. To swell or surge forth; billow.
  • n. The act or an instance of wallowing.
  • n. A pool of water or mud where animals go to wallow.
  • n. The depression, pool, or pit produced by wallowing animals.
  • n. A condition of degradation or baseness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Tasteless, flat.
  • v. To roll one's self about, as in mire; to tumble and roll about; to move lazily or heavily in any medium; to flounder; as, swine wallow in the mire.
  • v. To immerse oneself in, to occupy oneself with, metaphorically.
  • v. To roll; especially, to roll in anything defiling or unclean, as a hog might do to dust its body to relieve the distress of insect biting or cool its body with mud.
  • v. To live in filth or gross vice; to disport one's self in a beastly and unworthy manner.
  • v. To wither; to fade.
  • n. An instance of wallowing.
  • n. A pool of water or mud in which animals wallow.
  • n. A kind of rolling walk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of rolling walk.
  • n. Act of wallowing.
  • n. A place to which an animal comes to wallow; also, the depression in the ground made by its wallowing.
  • intransitive v. To roll one's self about, as in mire; to tumble and roll about; to move lazily or heavily in any medium; to flounder.
  • intransitive v. To live in filth or gross vice; to disport one's self in a beastly and unworthy manner.
  • intransitive v. To wither; to fade.
  • transitive v. To roll; esp., to roll in anything defiling or unclean.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To roll; tumble about.
  • To roll the body in sand, mire, water, or other yielding substance.
  • To plunge into some course or condition; dwell with satisfaction in, addict one's self to, or remain in some way of life or habit, especially a sensual or vicious one.
  • To roll.
  • To fade away; wither; droop.
  • Insipid; tasteless.
  • n. The act of rolling or tumbling, as in sand or mire.
  • n. A rolling gait.
  • n. A place to which an animal, as a buffalo, resorts to wallow; also, the traces of its wallowing left in the mire.
  • n. The alder-tree.

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

  • v. rise up as if in waves
  • v. delight greatly in
  • v. devote oneself entirely to something; indulge in to an immoderate degree, usually with pleasure
  • n. an indolent or clumsy rolling about
  • n. a puddle where animals go to wallow
  • v. roll around,
  • v. be ecstatic with joy


Middle English walowen, from Old English wealwian; see wel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English wealwian, from Proto-Germanic *walwōnan. (Wiktionary)
(From inflected forms of) Old English wealġ, from Proto-Germanic *walwo-. Cognate with dialectal Norwegian valg ("tasteless"). Compare waugh. (Wiktionary)


  • I think a wallow is good for the soul on occasion.

    In Which I Stop Whining and Realize I'm Lucky

  • Later on, he was wont to say that this poverty had been the best possible thing for him, its enforced abstinences having come just at the time when he had begun to "wallow" -- his word for any sort of excess; and "wallowing" was undoubtedly a peril to which Norbert's temper particularly exposed him.

    Will Warburton

  • If you’ve ever heard Bill Maher speak on the subject of religion, you know my views. hopefully you agree with him. but you can always help yourself. just dont lay there in wallow in your pity and the need for sympathy from others.

    Think Progress » Former GOP Congressman J.C. Watts: ‘Social programs’ are the ‘new slavery.’

  • And then, for a short story I fix my eye on the end point and let the rest happen; for a novel I kind of wallow, and try to keep the process playful and not-a-chore and not close off too many possibilities.

    ::drumroll:: Margo Lanagan, Everybody!

  • SHIRK: You can choose to wallow around in self pity and say this sucks, I don't really like it and just kind of wallow around in it, or you can sit there and say, look, this is the reality; how am I going to make the best of it?

    CNN Transcript Jan 23, 2007

  • Confess to absolutely wallowing if a tv-less person can be said to "wallow" in the selfish pleasure of taking one day off from the total dread that is Iraq.

    Mission accomplished, again, and again, and again, and...

  • We reached a kind of wallow, a muddy bayou filled with weed.

    The Skrayling Tree

  • Before the haymaking machines and horse-rakes came into vogue, it was not uncommon to see as many as twenty women following each other in _échelon_, turning a "wallow," or shaking up the green swathes left by the mowers.

    The Toilers of the Field

  • Dick had just reached the "wallow" referred to by Joe Blunt, and had reined up his steed to observe it leisurely, when a faint hissing sound reached his ear.

    The Dog Crusoe and his Master

  • The air, too, was close and oppressive as the breath of an oven; while the surface of the sea was unusually agitated, the run seeming to come from all points of the compass at once, and to meet under the ship, causing her to "wallow" so awkwardly that the water tumbled in over her rail in all directions, now forward, now aft, and anon in the waist, and on either side with the utmost impartiality.

    The Cruise of the "Esmeralda"


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  • I want a hippopotamus for Christmas -
    only a hippopotamus will do -
    no crocodiles, or rhinocerouses,
    I only like hippopotamuses,
    and hippopotamuses like me too!

    September 12, 2009

  • Mud! Mud! Glorious mud!
    Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
    So follow me, follow
    me down to the hollow
    and there we will wallow
    in glorious mud!

    Ten out of ten hippos agree that*, if you are going to engage in wallowing, then rhapsodic wallowing is the only way to go.

    *Agreement on the correct plural of the word 'hippopotamus' was much more elusive, however.

    September 12, 2009

  • His voice wallowed rhapsodically.

    - Rebecca West, The Judge

    September 12, 2009