- 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. Wordfinderbandage, bleed, bruise, fracture, hurt, injury, plaster, sore, swell, wound See related entries: Injuries
- 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 hall.
- 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 Word Origin Old English swellan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to German schwellen. Current senses of the noun date from the early 16th cent.; the informal adjectival use derives from noun sense (5) (late 18th cent.).Extra examples Her feet swelled up after the long walk to the top of the hill. Her legs had swollen with the heat. His right eye had almost swollen shut. His sprained ankle had swollen badly. My fingers and thumbs swelled to grotesque proportions. His belly swelled out over his belt. If the rain continues the river could swell and burst its banks. The rain was so fierce that it swelled the river until it burst its banks. The wind swelled the sails.
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BrE BrE//swel//; NAmE NAmE//swel//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they swell
BrE BrE//swel//; NAmE NAmE//swel//he / she / it swells
BrE BrE//swelz//; NAmE NAmE//swelz//past simple swelled
BrE BrE//sweld//; NAmE NAmE//sweld//past participle swelled
BrE BrE//sweld//; NAmE NAmE//sweld//past participle swollen
BrE BrE//ˈswəʊlən//; NAmE NAmE//ˈswoʊlən//-ing form swelling
BrE BrE//ˈswelɪŋ//; NAmE NAmE//ˈswelɪŋ//Injuries