• He swells visibly
    He swells visibly
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj swell very good "he did a bully job","a neat sports car","had a great time at the party","you look simply smashing"
    • v swell expand abnormally "The bellies of the starving children are swelling"
    • v swell cause to become swollen "The water swells the wood"
    • v swell increase in size, magnitude, number, or intensity "The music swelled to a crescendo"
    • v swell come up, as of a liquid "Tears well in her eyes","the currents well up"
    • v swell become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger "The mother was swelling with importance when she spoke of her son"
    • v swell come up (as of feelings and thoughts, or other ephemeral things) "Strong emotions welled up","Smoke swelled from it"
    • n swell a crescendo followed by a decrescendo
    • n swell the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea
    • n swell a rounded elevation (especially one on an ocean floor)
    • n swell a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Beethoven used to take hay baths to remedy the swelling he used to get in his legs
    • Swell A gradual ascent, or rounded elevation, of land; as, an extensive plain abounding with little swells .
    • Swell (Mus) A gradual increase and decrease of the volume of sound; the crescendo and diminuendo combined; -- generally indicated by the sign.
    • Swell A showy, dashing person; a dandy.
    • Swell 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.""The gigantic swells and billows of the snow."
    • Swell Gradual increase.
    • a Swell Having the characteristics of a person of rank and importance; showy; dandified; distinguished; as, a swell person; a swell neighborhood.
    • Swell Increase in height; elevation; rise.
    • Swell Increase of force, intensity, or volume of sound.
    • Swell Increase of power in style, or of rhetorical force.
    • Swell Increase or augmentation in bulk; protuberance.
    • Swell The act of swelling.
    • Swell To act in a pompous, ostentatious, or arrogant manner; to strut; to look big. "Here he comes, swelling like a turkey cock."
    • Swell To aggravate; to heighten. "It is low ebb with his accuser when such peccadilloes are put to swell the charge."
    • Swell (Mus) To augment gradually in force or loudness, as the sound of a note.
    • Swell To be elated; to rise arrogantly. "Your equal mind yet swells not into state."
    • Swell To be inflated; to belly; as, the sails swell .
    • Swell 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."
    • Swell To be turgid, bombastic, or extravagant; as, swelling words; a swelling style.
    • Swell To become larger in amount; as, many little debts added, swell to a great amount.
    • Swell 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.
    • Swell To grow upon the view; to become larger; to expand. "Monarchs to behold the swelling scene!"
    • Swell 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.
    • Swell 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."
    • Swell To protuberate; to bulge out; as, a cask swells in the middle.
    • Swell To raise to arrogance; to puff up; to inflate; as, to be swelled with pride or haughtiness.
    • Swell To rise or be driven into waves or billows; to heave; as, in tempest, the ocean swells into waves.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Lemon juice can aid in reducing the swelling caused by insect bites
    • swell To grow in bulk; bulge; dilate or expand; increase in size or extent by addition of any kind; grow in volume, intensity, or force: literally or figuratively, and used in a great variety of applications.
    • swell To belly, as sails; bulge out, as a cask in the middle; protuberate.
    • swell To rise in altitude; rise above a given level.
    • swell To be puffed up with some feeling; show outwardly elation or excitement; hence, to strut; look big: as, to swell with pride, anger, or rage.
    • swell To rise and gather; well up.
    • swell To increase the bulk, size, amount, or number of; cause to expand, dilate, or increase.
    • swell To inflate; puff up; raise to arrogance.
    • swell To increase gradually the intensity, force, or volume of: as, to swell a tone. See swell, n., 4.
    • n swell The act of swelling; augmentation in bulk; expansion; distention; increase in volume, intensity, number, force, etc.
    • n swell An elevation above a level, especially a gradual and even rise: as, a swell of land.
    • n swell A wave, especially when long and unbroken; collectively, the waves or fluctuations of the sea after a storm, often called ground-swell; billows; a surge: as, a heavy swell.
    • n swell In music: A gradual increase and following decrease in loudness or force; a crescendo combined with a diminuendo. Compare messa di voce.
    • n swell The sign ⟨ or ⟩, used to denote the above.
    • n swell A mechanical contrivance in the harpsichord and in both the pipe-organ and the reed-organ by which the loudness of the tones may be varied by opening or shutting the lid or set of blinds of a closed box, case, or chamber within which are the sounding strings, pipes, or vibrators. Its most common modern form is that of Venetian blinds, which are controlled by a pedal or knee-lever. The swell was introduced into the organ from the harpsichord about 1712.
    • n swell Same as swell-box, swell-keyboard, swell-organ, or swell-pedal. See also organ, 6.
    • n swell In a cannon, an enlargement near the muzzle: it is not present in guns as now made.
    • n swell In a gunstock, the enlarged and thickened part.
    • n swell In geology, an extensive area from whose central region the strata dip quaquaversally to a moderate amount, so as to give rise to a geologically and topographically peculiar type of structure.
    • n swell In coal-mining, a channel washed out or in some way eroded in a coal-seam, and afterward filled up with clay or sand. Also called, in some English coal-fields, a horse, and in others a want; sometimes also a horse-back, and in the South Wales coal-field a swine-back.
    • n swell A man of great claims to admiration; one of distinguished personality; hence, one who puts on such an appearance, or endeavors to appear important or distinguished; a dandy: as, a howling swell (a conspicuously great swell).
    • n swell In a stop-motion of a loom, a curved lever in the shuttle-box, which raises a catch out of engagement with the stop or stop-finger whenever the shuttle fairly enters the shuttle-box, but which, when the shuttle fails to enter, permits such engagement, thus bringing into action mechanism that stops the loom. Compare stop-motion.
    • swell First-rate of its kind; hence, elegant; stylish.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Sharks are capable of surviving on average six weeks without eating. The record observed in an aquarium is fifteen months by a species of shark known as the "swell shark."
    • v.i Swell swel to grow larger: to expand: to rise into waves: to heave: to be inflated: to bulge out: to grow louder: to be bombastic, to strut: to become elated, arrogant, or angry: to grow upon the view: to grow more violent: to grow louder, as a note
    • v.t Swell to increase the size of: to aggravate: to increase the sound of: to raise to arrogance: to augment the sound of:—pa.p. swelled or swollen (swōln)
    • n Swell act of swelling: a bulge or protuberance: increase in size: an increase and a succeeding decrease in the volume of a tone: a gradual rise of ground: a wave or billow or succession of them in one direction, as after a storm: a distinct set of pipes in an organ, enclosed in a case furnished with movable shutters which being more or less opened by means of a pedal, produce a swell of sound:
    • adj Swell fashionable
    • n Swell protuberance: a tumour: a rising, as of passion:
    • n Swell (geol.) an upward protrusion of strata from whose central region the beds dip quaquaversally at a low angle: a strutting foppish fellow, a dandy
    • n Swell (B.) inflation by pride
    • ***


  • George Macdonald
    “Age is not all decay; it is the ripening, the swelling, of the fresh life within, that withers and bursts the husk.”
  • Horace
    “My liver swells with bile difficult to repress.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “The human body is a peculiar device, pat it on the back and the head swells.”
  • Henry Ward Beecher
    “Death is the dropping of the flower that the fruit may swell.”
  • T. S. Eliot
    “No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be: am an attendant lord, one that will do to swell a progress, start a scene or two, advise the prince.”
  • Hubbell
    “Some people grow under responsibility, others merely swell.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. swellan,; akin to D. zwellen, OS. & OHG. swellan, G. schwellen, Icel. svella, Sw. svälla,


In literature:

Why, I could do it swell.
"Torchy and Vee" by Sewell Ford
Swelling of the feet and hands, or puffiness of the face.
"The Mother and Her Child" by William S. Sadler
A good practical test for glue is to soak it in water till it swells and becomes jelly-like.
"Handwork in Wood" by William Noyes
There were twenty-two stops on the Swell, and the Swell bellows was placed inside the Swell box.
"The Recent Revolution in Organ Building" by George Laing Miller
The muscles of his arm swelled suddenly and he felt a strange beating in his heart.
"The Black Cross" by Olive M. Briggs
Who slumbering, they rise up in swelling arms.
"The Works of Christopher Marlowe, Vol. 3 (of 3)" by Christopher Marlowe
The joy and enthusiasm of the crowd increased and the applause swelled into rumbling thunder.
"Before the Dawn" by Joseph Alexander Altsheler
Come now, Juliet, there's the swelling you know.
"Priscilla's Spies" by George A. Birmingham
Long before morn the Indian scout guided us to three miles westward, behind a swell of the prairie.
"Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet" by Captain Marryat
The feet frequently are cold, and in bad cases swell, the skin at and above the swelling being pale and soft.
"Papers on Health" by John Kirk

In poetry:

Softest velvet sod
Decks the meadow floor,
In the vineyards green
Swells the grape once more.
"To Russia" by Ivan Nikitin
Trust me, Spring is very near,
All the buds are swelling;
All the glory of the year
In those buds is dwelling.
"To K.M.D." by James Clerk Maxwell
So a fresh and glad emotion
Rose within my swelling breast,
And I hurried swiftly onwards
To the haven of my rest.
"The Buried Flower" by William Edmondstoune Aytoun
While we swell our grateful lays—
While our voices high we raise,
Loudest we will ever praise
God who makes us free.
"Sons of Liberty" by John Pierpont
But streams shall meet it by and by
From thousand sympathetic hearts,
Together swelling high
Their chant of many parts.
"Monday In Easter Week" by John Keble
How can they tell, with all their art,
What passions make thy glad throat swell,
That, throbbing at thy fiery heart,
Thou feel'st but canst not tell?
"The Skylark" by Cicely Fox Smith

In news:

Oliver Kurtz scores some hurricane swell in North Carolina and Mexico.
Hurricane Emilia has swelled to a Category 4 hurricane, the first major hurricane of this season.
Traffic was light on the George Washington Bridge Monday morning as the Hudson River began to swell.
Faintest sunlights flee Above his shadowy sides: above him swell Huge sponges of millennial growth and height.
Glen Hansard – Academy Award winning folk singer and songwriter – has embarked on his first solo project after working with acts like The Swell Season and The Frames.
Glen Hansard /Marketa Irglova (The Swell Season 6 Albums).
Well, The Swell Season is why there is no sequel.
I thought hernias caused pain and swelling in the groin.
Bad idea, as the man's legs quickly began to swell, and he couldn't get out of the diaper-like seat.
But it's not just the typical Saturday swell choking the seats.
At Graydon Carter's Party, Swells Swill as Stocks Slide.
A 24 year old woman goes to the Emergency Room because her left leg has swelled up.
The swelling was on the back of the hand and on her right forearm.
The leg swelled and turned purple.
Rains swell Rome's Tiber River, flooding suburbs.

In science:

However, there is no clear correlation between the increase in swelling height measured by AFM and the maximum phase shift change of the MFM signal at the spot within the fluence range used.
Induced Magnetic Order by Ion Irradiation of Carbon-Based Structures
With fuzzballs, we find that states of the hole ‘swell up’ and become big because we need an adequate phase space to hold eSbek states59 .
Fuzzballs and the information paradox: a summary and conjectures
The “pinch” inclusion can be thought of as exerting a force which tends to pinch (βpinch > 0, see Eq.(6) below) or swell (βpinch < 0) neighboring membranes.
Structure Factor of a Lamellar Smectic Phase with Inclusions
The H i disk is swelled in the direction θ = 310◦ in the third quadrant.
Three-Dimensional Distribution of the ISM in the Milky Way Galaxy: I. The HI Disk
What prevents it from infinite swelling in the transverse direction? The answer to this question is less obvious.
A heretical view on linear Regge trajectories