Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “swell”

See all translations

swell

verb uk   /swel/ (swelled, swollen or swelled) us  
C2 [I or T] to become larger and rounder than usual; to (cause to) increase in size or amount: It was obvious she had broken her toe, because it immediately started to swell (up). 25 employees have joined the union in this month alone, swelling its ranks (= increasing its size) to 110. literary His heart/breast swelled with pride (= he felt very proud) as he stood watching his son graduate. [I] If music swells, it becomes louder.
More examples

swell

noun [S] uk   /swel/ us  

swell noun [S] (WAVES)

the slow up and down movement of the sea with large but smooth waves
See also

swell noun [S] (SOUND)

swell

adjective uk   /swel/ US old-fashioned informal us  
very good or pleasant: That's a swell idea!

swell

adverb uk   /swel/ US old-fashioned informal us  
very well: Everything's going real swell.
(Definition of swell from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of swell?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “swell” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

advent calendar

a decorative piece of card, often hung on the wall, that has a small opening with a door for each of the days of the month before Christmas. Children open one of these doors each day, finding a picture under it.

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