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



    BrE BrE//swɪm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swɪm//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they swim
    BrE BrE//swɪm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swɪm//
    he / she / it swims
    BrE BrE//swɪmz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swɪmz//
    past simple swam
    BrE BrE//swæm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swæm//
    past participle swum
    BrE BrE//swʌm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swʌm//
    -ing form swimming
    BrE BrE//ˈswɪmɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswɪmɪŋ//
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] (of a person) to move through water in a horizontal position using the arms and legs I can't swim. The boys swam across the lake. We swam out (= away from land) to the yacht. They spent the day swimming and sunbathing. swim something Can you swim backstroke yet? How long will it take her to swim the Channel? Which Word?bath / bathe / swim / sunbathe When you wash yourself you can say that you bath (British English) or bathe (North American English), but it is much more common to say have a bath (British English) or take a bath (North American English). You can also bath (British English) or bathe (North American English) another person, for example a baby. You bathe a part of your body, especially to clean a wound. When you go swimming it is old-fashioned to say that you bathe, and you cannot say that you bath or take a bath. It is more common to use swim, go for a swim, have a swim or go swimming:Let’s go for a quick swim in the pool. She goes swimming every morning before breakfast. What you wear for this activity is usually called a swimsuit or swimming trunks. When you lie in the sun in order to go brown you sunbathe. Wordfinderarmband, dive, flipper, float, goggles, length, paddle, stroke, swim, water wings See related entries: Swimming
  2. 2  [intransitive] go swimming to spend time swimming for pleasure I go swimming twice a week.
  3. 3  [intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) (of a fish, etc.) to move through or across water A shoal of fish swam past. Ducks were swimming around on the river.
  4. 4[intransitive] (also be swimming) to be covered with a lot of liquid swim (in something) The main course was swimming in oil. swim (with something) Her eyes were swimming with tears.
  5. 5[intransitive] (of objects, etc.) to seem to be moving around, especially when you are ill/sick or drunk The pages swam before her eyes.
  6. 6[intransitive] to feel confused and/or as if everything is spinning around His head swam and he swayed dizzily.
  7. Word OriginOld English swimman (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwemmen and German schwimmen.Extra examples A beaver swam vigorously upstream. A water vole swam vigorously upstream. Exhausted, they swam ashore. He can’t swim well. She swam back towards the shore. We swam out to the boat. swimming across the river swimming in the sea to swim across the river to swim in the seaIdioms to be in a situation where you will either succeed by your own efforts or fail completely The new students were just left to sink or swim.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: swim