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Definition of Swell


  1. To grow larger; to dilate or extend the exterior surface or dimensions, by matter added within, or by expansion of the inclosed substance; as, the legs swell in dropsy; a bruised part swells; a bladder swells by inflation.
  2. To increase in size or extent by any addition; to increase in volume or force; as, a river swells, and overflows its banks; sounds swell or diminish.
  3. To rise or be driven into waves or billows; to heave; as, in tempest, the ocean swells into waves.
  4. To be puffed up or bloated; as, to swell with pride.
  5. To be inflated; to belly; as, the sails swell.
  6. To be turgid, bombastic, or extravagant; as, swelling words; a swelling style.
  7. To protuberate; to bulge out; as, a cask swells in the middle.
  8. To be elated; to rise arrogantly.
  9. To grow upon the view; to become larger; to expand.
  10. To become larger in amount; as, many little debts added, swell to a great amount.
  11. To act in a pompous, ostentatious, or arrogant manner; to strut; to look big.
  12. To increase the size, bulk, or dimensions of; to cause to rise, dilate, or increase; as, rains and dissolving snow swell the rivers in spring; immigration swells the population.
  13. To aggravate; to heighten.
  14. To raise to arrogance; to puff up; to inflate; as, to be swelled with pride or haughtiness.
  15. To augment gradually in force or loudness, as the sound of a note.
  16. The act of swelling.
  17. Gradual increase.
  18. Increase or augmentation in bulk; protuberance.
  19. Increase in height; elevation; rise.
  20. Increase of force, intensity, or volume of sound.
  21. Increase of power in style, or of rhetorical force.
  22. A gradual ascent, or rounded elevation, of land; as, an extensive plain abounding with little swells.
  23. A wave, or billow; especially, a succession of large waves; the roll of the sea after a storm; as, a heavy swell sets into the harbor.
  24. A gradual increase and decrease of the volume of sound; the crescendo and diminuendo combined; -- generally indicated by the sign.
  25. A showy, dashing person; a dandy.
  26. Having the characteristics of a person of rank and importance; showy; dandified; distinguished; as, a swell person; a swell neighborhood.

Swell Quotations

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain - at least in a poor country like Russia - and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
Leon Trotsky

I know only two words of American slang, 'swell' and 'lousy'. I think 'swell' is lousy, but 'lousy' is swell.
J. B. Priestley

The rich swell up with pride, the poor from hunger.
Sholom Aleichem

If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody.
J. D. Salinger

You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that. No eye is on the sparrow but he did tell me that.
Joan Didion
More "Swell" Quotations

Swell Translations

swell in Danish is svulme
swell in Dutch is aanzwellen
swell in German is anschwellen, Schwellen, schwellen
swell in Italian is enfiare, frangenti
swell in Portuguese is inchamento
swell in Spanish is rompiente, hincharse
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