Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “swallow”

See all translations

swallow

verb uk   /ˈswɒl.əʊ/ us    /ˈswɑː.loʊ/

swallow verb (THROAT)

B2 [I or T] to cause food, drink, pills, etc. to move from your mouth into your stomach by using the muscles of your throat: My throat is so sore that it really hurts when I swallow. He put a grape into his mouth and swallowed it whole. [I] to use the muscles of your throat, as if moving something from your mouth into your stomach, because you are nervous or frightened, or are about to say something: He swallowed hard and said, "Dad, I've got something to tell you."
More examples

swallow verb (TAKE AWAY)

[T] If something large swallows (up) another thing, it makes it disappear or stop existing separately by making it part of itself: An increasing amount of the countryside is being swallowed (up) by the town. Many small businesses have been swallowed (up) by large companies. [T] to use or take away a large part of something valuable: Taxes have swallowed up nearly half of my pay increase.

swallow verb (ACCEPT)

C2 [T] informal to accept something without question or without expressing disagreement: Not surprisingly, this excuse was too much for them to swallow. He swallowed her story whole. She swallowed his sales pitch hook, line, and sinker (= believed it completely).

swallow verb (NOT EXPRESS)

C2 [T] to not express or show something: She swallowed her disappointment, saying, "That's OK, it doesn't matter."

swallow

noun [C] uk   /ˈswɒl.əʊ/ us    /ˈswɑː.loʊ/

swallow noun [C] (THROAT)

an act of using the muscles of your throat, or the amount of something you move into your stomach from your mouth by using the muscles of your throat: He gave a swallow, then began speaking.

swallow noun [C] (BIRD)

a small bird with pointed wings and a tail with two points, which flies quickly and catches insects to eat as it flies
(Definition of swallow from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of swallow?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “swallow” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

christmassy

typical of Christmas, or happy because it is Christmas

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

tweleb noun

December 22, 2014
informal a Twitter celebrity; (more specifically, someone who has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter) There were a few old and a few new faces, including a tweleb or two. Expect to see and hear more from these cool kids.

Read More