free-swim·​ming ˈfrē-ˈswi-miŋ How to pronounce free-swimming (audio)
: able to swim about : not attached
the free-swimming larva of the barnacle

Examples of free-swimming in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Fossilized polyps have been found in about 560-million-year old rocks, but the origin of the more free-swimming medusa or jellyfish is not well understood. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 2 Aug. 2023 That’s not the case for orcas, which are massive and free-swimming. Gene Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'free-swimming.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of free-swimming was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near free-swimming

Cite this Entry

“Free-swimming.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: able to swim about : not attached

Medical Definition


free-swim·​ming -ˌswim-iŋ How to pronounce free-swimming (audio)
: able to swim about : not attached
a free-swimming larva of a trematode
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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