Meaning of “swell” in the English Dictionary

"swell" in English

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uk /swel/ us /swel/ swelled, swollen or swelled

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).
The group recruited more members, swelling its ranks (= increasing its size) to more than 1.3 million.
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

swellnoun [ S ]

uk /swel/ us /swel/


uk /swel/ us /swel/ US old-fashioned informal


uk /swel/ us /swel/ US old-fashioned informal

(Definition of “swell” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"swell" in American English

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swellverb [ I/T ]

us /swel/ past tense swelled, past participle swollen /ˈswoʊ·lən/ swelled

swell verb [ I/T ] (INCREASE)

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).
noun [ C/U ] us /ˈswel·ɪŋ/

[ U ] We won’t know how serious the injury is until the swelling subsides.

swellnoun [ C ]

us /swel/

swell noun [ C ] (WAVE MOVEMENT)

the slow up and down movement of a long, smooth wave or series of waves in the sea:

ocean swells

swelladjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /swel/ dated infml

swell adjective [ -er/-est only ] (EXCELLENT)

excellent; very good:

The food was good and the service was swell.

(Definition of “swell” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)