Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “swell”


verb [I/T] (INCREASE)   /swel/ (past tense swelled, past participle swollen  /ˈswoʊ·lən/ or swelled)
to become larger and rounder: [I] It’s spring, and the buds on the trees are beginning to swell. [I] One of his eyes swelled shut. [T] Immigrants swelled the city’s population (= increased it). [I] fig. His chest swelled with pride at being chosen (= He felt extremely proud). swelling    /ˈswel·ɪŋ/ noun [C/U] [U] We won’t know how serious the injury is until the swelling subsides.
(Definition of swell verb (INCREASE) from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of swell

More American English definitions for “swell”

Definitions of “swell” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a situation in which two people are friends

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More