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

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

swal·low·able play \ˈswä-lō-ə-bəl\ adjective
swal·low·er play \ˈswä-lə-wər\ noun

Examples of swallow

  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




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

February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders duvet spindrift pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ