Definitions for: Swell


[n] a crescendo followed by a decrescendo
[n] the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea
[n] a rounded elevation (especially one on an ocean floor)
[n] a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance
[adj] (informal) very good; "a bully pulpit"; "a neat sports car"; "had a great time at the party"; "you look simply smashing"
[v] increase in size, magnitude, number, or intensity; "The music swelled to a crescendo"
[v] expand abnormally; "The bellies of the starving children are swelling"
[v] cause to become swollen; "The water swells the wood"
[v] come up, as of liquids; "Tears well in her eyes"
[v] become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger; "The mother was swelling with importance when she spoke of her son"
[v] as of feelings and thoughts, or other ephemeral things; "Strong emotions welled up"; "Smoke swelled from it"



Webster (1913) Definition: Swell, v. i. [imp. Swelled; p. p. Swelled or
Swollen; p. pr. & vb. n. Swelling.] [AS. swellan; akin to
D. zwellen, OS. & OHG. swellan, G. schwellen, Icel. svella,
Sw. sv["a]lla.]
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.

You swell at the tartan, as the bull is said to do
at scarlet. --Sir W.
Scott.

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.

Your equal mind yet swells not into state. --Dryden.

9. To grow upon the view; to become larger; to expand.
``Monarchs to behold the swelling scene!'' --Shak.

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.

Here he comes, swelling like a turkey cock. --Shak.


Swell, v. t.
1. 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.

[The Church] swells her high, heart-cheering tone.
--Keble.

2. To aggravate; to heighten.

It is low ebb with his accuser when such
peccadilloes are put to swell the charge.
--Atterbury.

3. To raise to arrogance; to puff up; to inflate; as, to be
swelled with pride or haughtiness.

4. (Mus.) To augment gradually in force or loudness, as the
sound of a note.


Swell, n.
1. The act of swelling.

2. Gradual increase. Specifically:
(a) Increase or augmentation in bulk; protuberance.
(b) Increase in height; elevation; rise.

Little River affords navigation during a swell
to within three miles of the Miami. --Jefferson.
(c) Increase of force, intensity, or volume of sound.

Music arose with its voluptuous swell. --Byron.
(d) Increase of power in style, or of rhetorical force.

The swell and subsidence of his periods.
--Landor.

3. A gradual ascent, or rounded elevation, of land; as, an
extensive plain abounding with little swells.

4. 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.

The swell Of the long waves that roll in yonder bay.
--Tennyson.

The gigantic swells and billows of the snow.
--Hawthorne.

5. (Mus.) A gradual increase and decrease of the volume of
sound; the crescendo and diminuendo combined; -- generally
indicated by the sign.

6. A showy, dashing person; a dandy. [Slang]

Ground swell. See under Ground.

Organ swell (Mus.), a certain number of pipes inclosed in a
box, the uncovering of which by means of a pedal produces
increased sound.

Swell shark (Zo["o]l.), a small shark ({Scyllium
ventricosum}) of the west coast of North America, which
takes in air when caught, and swells up like a swellfish.


Swell, a.
Having the characteristics of a person of rank and
importance; showy; dandified; distinguished; as, a swell
person; a swell neighborhood. [Slang]

Swell mob. See under Mob. [Slang]

Synonyms: bang-up, beau, bully, clotheshorse, corking, cracking, crestless wave, dandy, dandy, dude, fashion plate, fop, gallant, good, great, groovy, intumesce, keen, neat, nifty, not bad(p), peachy, puff up, sheik, slap-up, smashing, swell up, tumefy, well, well up

See Also: act, adult male, arise, Beau Brummell, behave, belly, belly out, blister, bloat, blow up, Brummell, bulge, bulk, cockscomb, come up, coxcomb, crescendo, develop, distend, do, elevation, expand, George Bryan Brummell, ground swell, grow, grow, heavy swell, increase, man, moving ridge, natural elevation, originate, puff, puff out, puff up, rise, rise, rise up, spring up, surface, swell, uprise, vesicate, wave

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