English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

swim (swɪm



Word forms:   swims,  swimming,  swam or ,  swum
  1. (intransitive) to move along in water, etc, by means of movements of the body or parts of the body, esp the arms and legs, or (in the case of fish) tail and fins
  2. (transitive) to cover (a distance or stretch of water) in this way
  3. (transitive) to compete in (a race) in this way
  4. (intransitive) to be supported by and on a liquid; float
  5. (transitive) to use (a particular stroke) in swimming
  6. (intransitive) to move smoothly, usually through air or over a surface
  7. (intransitive) to reel or seem to reel   ⇒  ■ my head swam,   ⇒  ■ the room swam around me
  8. (intransitive; often followed by in or with) to be covered or flooded with water or other liquid
  9. (intransitive) often foll by in to be liberally supplied (with)   ⇒  ■ he's swimming in money
  10. (transitive) to cause to float or swim
  11. (transitive) to provide (something) with water deep enough to float in
  12. See swim against the tide

  13. See swim with the tide



  1. the act, an instance, or period of swimming
  2. any graceful gliding motion
  3. a condition of dizziness; swoon
  4. a pool in a river good for fishing
  5. See in the swim

Derived Forms

ˈswimmable  adjective
ˈswimmer  noun
ˈswimming  noun, adjective

Word Origin

Old English swimman; related to Old Norse svima, German schwimmen, Gothic swumsl pond, Norwegian svamla to paddle


View thesaurus entry
= go swimming, bathe, take a dip, dip
= reel, spin, swirl, revolve, whirl, twirl, go round and round
= be covered in, be immersed in, be soaked in, be drenched in, be saturated in

Translations for 'swim'

  • British English: swim When you swim, you move through water by making movements with your arms and legs.She learned to swim when she was really tiny.swɪm VERB
  • Arabic: يَسْبَحُ
  • Brazilian Portuguese: nadar
  • Chinese: 游泳
  • Croatian: plivati
  • Czech: plavat zaplavat si
  • Danish: svømme
  • Dutch: zwemmen
  • European Spanish: nadar
  • Finnish: uida
  • French: nager
  • German: schwimmen
  • Greek: κολυμπώ
  • Italian: nuotare
  • Japanese: 泳ぐ
  • Korean: 수영하다
  • Norwegian: svømme
  • Polish: popłynąć płynąć
  • Portuguese: nadar
  • Romanian: a înota
  • Russian: плавать
  • Spanish: nadar
  • Swedish: simma
  • Thai: ว่ายน้ำ
  • Turkish: yüzmek
  • Ukrainian: плавати
  • Vietnamese: bơi

Example Sentences Including 'swim'

Lisa came and sat down on the bottom half of the sun lounge where Malone, in swim trunks, was stretched out.
Cleary, Jon Murder Song
They were in her arms, they were all in the water, they were holding hands... Eileen was telling her Gwen couldn't swim.
Gee, Maggie Lost Children
Mostly I go straight to work, but sometimes I go for a swim first.
Hugo Wilcken THE EXECUTION (2002)


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