Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

swallow

play
noun swal·low \ˈswä-(ˌ)lō\

Definition of swallow

  1. 1 :  any of numerous small widely distributed oscine birds (family Hirundinidae, the swallow family) that have a short bill, long pointed wings, and often a deeply forked tail and that feed on insects caught on the wing

  2. 2 :  any of several birds that superficially resemble swallows



Illustration of swallow

Origin of swallow

Middle English swalowe, from Old English swealwe; akin to Old High German swalawa swallow


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

swallow

verb swal·low

Simple Definition of swallow

  • : to take (something) into your stomach through your mouth and throat

  • : to move the muscles in your throat as if you are swallowing something often because you are nervous

  • : to flow over and cover (something) completely

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of swallow

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach

  3. 2 :  to envelop or take in as if by swallowing :  absorb <swallow the financial loss> <watch night swallow the valley>

  4. 3 :  to accept without question, protest, or resentment <swallow an insult> <a hard story to swallow>

  5. 4 :  take back, retract <had to swallow my words>

  6. 5 :  to keep from expressing or showing :  repress <swallowed my anger>

  7. 6 :  to utter (as words) indistinctly

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 :  to receive something into the body through the mouth and esophagus

  10. 2 :  to perform the action characteristic of swallowing something especially under emotional stress

swallowable play \ˈswä-lō-ə-bəl\ adjective
swallower play \ˈswä-lə-wər\ noun

Examples of swallow in a sentence

  1. He swallowed the grape whole.

  2. Chew your food well before you swallow.

  3. The boss said, Come in. I swallowed hard and walked in.

  4. Her story is pretty hard to swallow.

  5. I can usually take criticism, but this is more than I can swallow.



Origin of swallow

Middle English swalowen, from Old English swelgan; akin to Old High German swelgan to swallow


First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with swallow


3

swallow

noun swal·low

Definition of swallow

  1. 1 :  the passage connecting the mouth to the stomach

  2. 2 :  a capacity for swallowing

  3. 3a :  an act of swallowingb :  an amount that can be swallowed at one time



14th Century

First Known Use of swallow

14th century



SWALLOW Defined for Kids

1

swallow

play
noun swal·low \ˈswä-lō\

Definition of swallow for Students

  1. :  a small bird that has long wings and a forked tail and feeds on insects caught while in flight




2

swallow

play
verb swal·low

Definition of swallow for Students

swallowedswallowing

  1. 1 :  to take into the stomach through the mouth and throat <Chew your food well before you swallow.>

  2. 2 :  to perform the actions used in swallowing something <Clear your throat and swallow before answering.>

  3. 3 :  to completely surround :  engulf <Now she was half swallowed by the darkness of the barn door. — Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder>

  4. 4 :  to accept or believe without question <You swallow every story you hear.>

  5. 5 :  to keep from expressing or showing :  repress <I swallowed my pride and asked for help.>




3

swallow

play
noun swal·low

Definition of swallow for Students

  1. 1 :  an act of taking something into the stomach through the mouth and throat :  an act of swallowing <He ate the cupcake in one swallow.>

  2. 2 :  an amount that can be swallowed at one time <She took a swallow of water.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up swallow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a smart aleck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

prompt oily maudlin angry
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ