- 1[intransitive] swell (up) to become bigger or rounder Her arm was beginning to swell up where the bee had stung her. Bacteria can cause gums to swell and bleed. Cook the lentils for 20 minutes until they swell and soften.
- 2[intransitive, transitive] to curve out or make something curve out swell (out) The sails swelled (out) in the wind. swell something (out) The wind swelled (out) the sails.
- 3 [transitive, intransitive] to increase or make something increase in number or size swell something (to something) Last year's profits were swelled by a fall in production costs. Crowds of commuters were swelled by Christmas shoppers. We are looking for more volunteers to swell the ranks (= increase the number) of those already helping. swell (to something) Membership has swelled to over 20,000. opposite shrink
- 4 [intransitive] (of a sound) to become louder The cheering swelled through the arena.
- 5[intransitive] swell (with something) to be filled with a strong emotion to swell with pride Her heart swelled as she turned to face him. see also swollen
verbjump to other results
NAmE//swɛl//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they swell
he / she / it swells
past simple swelled
past participle swelled
past participle swollen
-ing form swelling