Definitions

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

  • n. A confused mass; a jumble: a welter of papers and magazines.
  • n. Confusion; turmoil.
  • intransitive v. To wallow, roll, or toss about, as in mud or high seas.
  • intransitive v. To lie soaked in a liquid.
  • intransitive v. To roll and surge, as the sea.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. general confusion; disorderly mixture; aimless effort; as, a welter of papers and magazines
  • v. to roll; to wallow
  • v. to be soaked or steeped in; as, to welter in one’s own blood
  • adj. Of horsemen, heavyweight; as, a welter race.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To roll, as the body of an animal; to tumble about, especially in anything foul or defiling; to wallow.
  • intransitive v. To rise and fall, as waves; to tumble over, as billows.
  • transitive v. To wither; to wilt.
  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or designating, the most heavily weighted race in a meeting.
  • n. That in which any person or thing welters, or wallows; filth; mire; slough.
  • n. A rising or falling, as of waves.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In glove-manuf., one who puts the welting in the seams and sews them up.
  • To roll or toss; tumble about; flow or act waveringly, confusedly, or tumultuously: used chiefly of waves, or of things comparable to them.
  • To roll about, as in some fluid or unstable medium; be tossed or tumbled; hence, to wallow or grovel (in something).
  • To be exposed to or affected by some weltering or floating substance or medium: said of objects at rest.
  • To roll; cause to turn or revolve.
  • To subject to or affect by weltering; accomplish by or as if by wallowing.
  • n. Rolling or wallowing motion; a tossing or tumbling about; hence, turmoil; ferment; hurly-burly.

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

  • n. a confused multitude of things
  • v. toss, roll, or rise and fall in an uncontrolled way
  • v. roll around,
  • v. be immersed in

Etymologies

From Middle English welteren, to toss about, as in high seas, from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch, to roll; see wel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Low German, from Proto-Germanic. Cognates include Old Norse velta (Danish vælte), German wälzen, Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌻𐍄𐌾𐌰𐌽 (waltjan). Akin to wallow, Gothic 𐍅𐌰𐌻𐍅𐌾𐌰𐌽 (walwjan) and Latin volvere. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It was not a crushing weight, such as an operation, or seeing one's best friend off to live in Tasmania; nor was it anything so light as a committee meeting, or a deaf uncle to tea: it was a kind of welter-weight doom.

    Mrs. Miniver

  • They are hardly alone is this sort of scientific conceit; I’ve heard such claims many times over the years, as well as researchers referring to various chemical rate parameters often photolysis rates as being derived from “first principles,” another nigh onto meaningless phrase used to cloak a welter of assumptions and models of reality.

    Objective

  • The "welter" of action can't be seen by the normal eye.

    Teds Take

  • Hatton is 44-0 at jr. welter which is his natural weight. i think the presence of boring, miserable Michael Moorer could be a detriment to PacMan.

    East Side Boxing

  • Largely because of such enterprises, American entertainment had become a “welter of sensuousness” and “voluptuous abandonment.”

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • And though he dug deep, he unearthed neither disdain nor contempt in the welter of feelings Cat produced in him.

    Earl of Durkness

  • The boat was behaving splendidly, leaping and lurching through the welter like a race - horse.

    DEMETRIOS CONTOS

  • The welter of emotions arising out of the dictates of Iranian faith, justice, honour, pride and fear here is alarming and compelling.

    Berlin film festival – review

  • Millions more Americans will be required to show photo identification when they head to the polls in four states in 2012, headlining the welter of new laws across the nation that take effect with the turn of the year.

    Voter ID Laws Lead Flurry of New Statutes

  • Embattled Republican candidate Herman Cain set a deadline of Wednesday next week for deciding whether to stay in the race amid a welter of sex allegations.

    Herman Cain sets deadline for deciding whether to stay in race

Comments

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  • What is it you say, young man? exclaimed he in his turn, with surprise and agitation equal to my own. Are you that ill-fated infant, still in its mother's womb, when I sacrificed her to my fury? Yes, said I; none other did the virtuous Estephania bring into the world, after the fatal night when you left her weltering in her own blood.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 8 ch. 8

    October 7, 2008