Definition of swallow verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈswɒləʊ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɑːloʊ//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they swallow
    BrE BrE//ˈswɒləʊ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɑːloʊ//
    he / she / it swallows
    BrE BrE//ˈswɒləʊz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɑːloʊz//
    past simple swallowed
    BrE BrE//ˈswɒləʊd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɑːloʊd//
    past participle swallowed
    BrE BrE//ˈswɒləʊd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɑːloʊd//
    -ing form swallowing
    BrE BrE//ˈswɒləʊɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɑːloʊɪŋ//
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  1. 1  [transitive, intransitive] to make food, drink, etc. go down your throat into your stomach swallow (something) Always chew food well before swallowing it. I had a sore throat and it hurt to swallow. swallow something + adj. The pills should be swallowed whole.
  2. move throat muscles
  3. 2  [intransitive] to move the muscles of your throat as if you were swallowing something, especially because you are nervous She swallowed hard and told him the bad news.
  4. completely cover
  5. 3[transitive, often passive] to take somebody/something in or completely cover it so that they cannot be seen or no longer exist separately swallow somebody/something I watched her walk down the road until she was swallowed by the darkness. swallow somebody/something up Large areas of countryside have been swallowed up by towns.
  6. use up money
  7. 4[transitive] swallow somebody/something (up) to use up something completely, especially an amount of money Most of my salary gets swallowed (up) by the rent and bills.
  8. believe
  9. 5[transitive] to accept that something is true; to believe something swallow something I found her excuse very hard to swallow. swallow something + adj. He told her a pack of lies, but she swallowed it whole.
  10. feelings
  11. 6[transitive] swallow something to hide your feelings to swallow your doubts You're going to have to swallow your pride and ask for your job back.
  12. accept insults
  13. 7[transitive] swallow something to accept insults, criticisms, etc. without complaining or protesting I was surprised that he just sat there and swallowed all their remarks.
  14. Word Originverb Old English swelgan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwelgen and German schwelgen.Extra examples He swallowed back the lump in his throat. He told her a pack of lies but she swallowed it whole. I found her excuse very hard to swallow. Liquid food may be more easily swallowed. Most snakes swallow their prey whole. She accidentally swallowed a glass bead. She had to swallow hard before she could speak. She swallowed convulsively, determined not to cry. She swallowed down her breakfast in a hurry.Idioms
    a bitter pill (for somebody) (to swallow)
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    a fact or an event that is unpleasant and difficult to accept The election defeat was a bitter pill for the party to swallow.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: swallow