\ ˈdwel \
dwelled\ ˈdweld , ˈdwelt \ or dwelt\ ˈdwelt \; dwelling

Definition of dwell

intransitive verb

1 : to remain for a time dwell in the hallway
2a : to live as a resident the town in which he dwelled for eight years the dwelling place of the gods
b : exist, lie where the heart of the matter dwells
3a : to keep the attention directed used with on or upon tried not to dwell on my fears
b : to speak or write insistently used with on or upon reporters dwelling on the recent scandal

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dwell

dweller \ ˈdwe-​lər \ noun

Examples of dwell in a Sentence

a cave where bats dwell dwelling with a farm family as an exchange student in France

Recent Examples on the Web

An alley dwelling was any home that faced a narrow thoroughfare within a block. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Laundry, Hog and Moonshine alleys: When the District’s narrow thoroughfares bore colorful names," 25 June 2018 Pursuing the dream That story travels backward to Africa and forward toward a day when the gods dwelling within every black man might stand tall. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Brothers Size' follows spiritual odyssey of three black men," 16 Feb. 2018 They are currently limited to dwelling with three bedrooms and a maximum occupancy of six guests. Greg Larose, NOLA.com, "New Orleans short-term rental backers offer listing cap for more guest days," 2 Feb. 2018 Trump has moderated his language somewhat since taking office, but has continued to dwell on the issue, even as many NATO members have agreed to up their spending. Jonathan Lemire And Jill Colvin, chicagotribune.com, "In combative start to NATO visit, Trump claims Germany 'totally controlled' by Russia," 11 July 2018 America’s particular way of celebrating our national figures has always been to dwell on their imperfections, to avoid king making. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "Before ‘Hamilton,’ 100 years of American music theater and how it’s told the story of who we are," 29 June 2018 Having to dwell inside another human’s shoes for a good long stretch would be a solid first step to his understanding how small one life, his life, is and the compassion required to be a public servant. New York Times, "Samantha Hunt: By the Book," 21 June 2018 But there’s no time for general manager Dayton Moore and team executives to dwell on what the organization believes was a successful draft. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Dayton Moore on the Royals’ path after the draft and heading into trade season," 7 June 2018 That meeting is expected to dwell heavily on North Korea. Carl Prine, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Defense secretary touches down in Singapore for key talks," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dwell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dwell

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dwell

Middle English, from Old English dwellan to go astray, hinder; akin to Old High German twellen to tarry

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dwell

Dictionary Entries near dwell






dwelling house

dwelling place

Statistics for dwell

Last Updated

2 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dwell

The first known use of dwell was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dwell



English Language Learners Definition of dwell

literary + formal : to live in a particular place


\ ˈdwel \
dwelt\ ˈdwelt \ or dwelled\ ˈdweld \; dwelling

Kids Definition of dwell

1 : to live in a place : reside
2 : to keep the attention directed Try not to dwell on your mistakes.

Other Words from dwell

dweller noun cave dwellers

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dwell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dwell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dwell

Spanish Central: Translation of dwell

Nglish: Translation of dwell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dwell for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dwell

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


irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!